Junior Seau, the future Hall of Fame linebacker who committed suicide in May, suffered from the same type of brain damage that has now been found in dozens of former NFL players.
After Seau’s death, brain specialists with the National Institutes of Health studied his brain, and they have told his family that his brain tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease caused by head trauma that can lead to depression, among other symptoms.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE,” his ex-wife Gina Seau told ESPN. “It’s important that we take steps to help these players. We certainly don’t want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes.”
The death of Seau, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, was eerily similar to the suicide of former NFL defensive back Dave Duerson, who also committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest and who left a note requesting that his brain be studied. Researchers at Boston University have found CTE in the brains of 33 deceased NFL players.
A statement from the National Institutes of Health said that Seau’s brain showed “evidence of scarring that is consistent with a small, old traumatic brain injury.”
The NFL is still in the early stages of grappling with the fact that many men leave this game with damaged brains. Gina Seau said the NFL’s pace of dealing with brain damage on the field was “too slow for us.”