Junior Seau's Death Resembles Suicide of Former Bear
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The heartbreaking news appears to be true about former NFL linebacker Junior Seau. According to autopsy reports and a police investigation, the retired star took his life Wednesday morning, with a single gunshot wound to the chest. Seau was just 43 years old and did not leave behind a suicide note.
The shocking death is eerily similar to the February 2011 passing of former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson. Duerson also shot himself in the chest, after creating a hand-written message that was found at the scene.
Duerson's note urged medical doctors to examine his brain for damage and irregularities. Autopsy results confirmed that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is common to head trauma and has been found in more than 20 other deceased players. Duerson claimed that he had suicidal thoughts for years and believed it was caused by the numerous concussions he suffered during his playing days. Dureson was 50 years old when he died.
Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw recently admitted that he has battled depression and short-term memory loss since his retirement from football. Last year, doctors confirmed his worst fears, by diagnosing Bradshaw with the early onset of dementia.
Seau's suicide may have had nothing to do with CTE symptoms, but medical science can prove if it did. On Thursday, Seau's family agreed to donate Junior's brain for research. In a phone interview with Fox Sports, San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said:
Dave Duerson testified to Congress about concussions in 2007. Former Dallas star Darryl Johnston (left) also attended the hearing.
''The Seau family really has, almost like Junior, a philanthropic approach, where they always desire to help others. The purpose is not initially to discover anything about their son and what led to these tragic circumstances, but rather the betterment of other people and athletes down the road through anything that can be learned through the study.''
A destination has not been determined, but a likely place could be Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The center analyzed Duerson's brain and has also examined the brains of numerous other athletes.
Meanwhile, the NFL better get its act together, because a growing number of retirees are suing the league for negligence. Concussions were underestimated for far too long and late-stage effects from them are becoming more and more tragic.
Seau was a first-team All-Pro six times, appeared in 12 Pro Bowls and always appeared to be in good spirits. But, since retiring after the 2009 season, he may have been as traumatized from brain damage as Duerson was.
Seau survived what was believed to be an initial suicide attempt. In October 2010, he drove his SUV off of a cliff in Carlsbad, California, hours after being released from jail for the domestic assault of his 25-year-old girlfriend.
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