The family of Junior Seau is still undecided about whether to allow his brain to be studied by researchers looking for clues about how collisions on the football field can cause brain injuries that affect players later in life.
On Thursday Shawn Mitchell, a pastor for the Seau family, said they had decided to let researchers study his brain. But today the pastor said the family is unsure what to do.
“They have now stepped back from what they were thinking initially,” Mitchell told Reuters on Saturday. “Nothing is definite right now.”
Mitchell declined to say whether any issues arose to make the family reconsider. It is also not clear whether Seau expressed any wishes to anyone about what he wanted done with his body or his brain after his death, and it is unclear which member of Seau’s family would ultimately make the decision. The divorced Seau is survived by his minor children, his parents and siblings.
“I don’t want to give the impression they’re not going to anymore,” Mitchell said. “We thought everything was kind of nailed, and now it’s in flux. I think everything is being revisited. . . . They just want to slow down, be sure they’re doing it right. With the incredible, incredible anguish and grief and pressure of this situation, they’ve been in a fog. Now, they’re getting counsel.”
Many NFL players have pledged their brains for research after their death. Most notably, Dave Duerson, who like Seau committed suicide with a gunshot to the chest, left a note asking that his brain be studied. Researchers discovered that Duerson’s brain showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can be caused by repeated blows to the head and has been linked to depression.