The initial autopsy shows no evidence of brain damage:
Nothing in the autopsy report lists concussions or brain damage as related or contributory to the manner or cause of death. Nor is there anything that suggests the mood changes and irritability often associated with concussions and brain damage. In its description of the central nervous system, Nelson wrote that features of the brain were symmetrical, showed no signs of injury or lesions, and that the arteries at the base of the brain "have no atherosclerotic changes or aneurysms."The autopsy and toxicology results were released after San Diego news agencies requested them as public documents. Officials at the county medical examiner's office, citing respect for the Seau family, declined to discuss the findings.
I don't really know whether CTE can be detected in autopsy or not. It would help if reporters clarified that point. But as you guys know, Seau's death affected me deeply. My sense, from the beginning, was that the mere act of wondering whether CTE was a factor was too much for me. And then there was the circling of wagons which came after.
The thing is, I loved Junior Seau. The way he played embodied something, not simply about the approach to football, but about the approach to life that I've long believed in.I haven't yet begun to really explain to myself why his death, in particular, is so gripping.
I'm not sure we'll ever know if he had CTE, or not. His family did donate his brain--but only under the condition that any results would remain private:
The "release of materials for study was done at the request of the next of kin," said Sarah Gordon, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.