NFL Star Junior Seau Suffered From Brain Disease

Renowned former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, suffered from the serious brain disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that was likely caused by numerous hits to the head he sustained during his two-decade playing career.

Seau’s family donated his brain to the National Institutes of Health after the 43-year-old former San Diego Chargers star shot himself in the chest at his Oceanside, Calif., home in May. The NIH is performing research on traumatic head injuries and former football players.

“What was found in Junior Seau’s brain was cellular changes consistent with CTE,” said Dr. Russell Lonser, who led the study at NIH.

About 4,000 retired NFL players are suing the league over allegations that it doesn’t do enough to protect its athletes from head injuries.

ABC News:

Patients with CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death, display symptoms “such as impulsivity, forgetfulness, depression, [and] sometimes suicidal ideation,” Lonser said.

Seau’s family described to ABC News and ESPN a long descent into depression in the years prior to his death.

Gina Seau, his ex-wife with whom he remained close following their divorce, said the linebacker had difficulty sleeping and became withdrawn and “detached emotionally” from his children. In one exchange, he described his mood as “low” and “dark.”

“A lot of things, towards the end of his life, patterns that we saw and things that worried us, it makes sense now,” she said of the diagnosis.

Read more

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

Tracy Bloom
Assistant Editor
Tracy Bloom left broadcast news to study at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. There she eventually became deputy editor of Neon Tommy, the most-trafficked online-only college website in…
Tracy Bloom

Now you can personalize your Truthdig experience. To bookmark your favorite articles, please create a user profile.

Personalize your Truthdig experience. Choose authors to follow, bookmark your favorite articles and more.
Your Truthdig, your way. Access your favorite authors, articles and more.

A password will be e-mailed to you.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles and comments are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.