NFL's Junior Seau Had Brain Disease When He Committed Suicide

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A post-mortem analysis of Junior Seau's brain tissue has diagnosed the former NFL linebacker with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative brain diseased linked to football and head injuries. Seau committed suicide last May by shooting himself in the chest, thus preserving his brain for future study.

Researchers at Boston University who examined Seau's brain have discovered more than 30 cases of CTE in the tissues of deceased former NFL players, including several who committed suicide. CTE can cause dementia, memory loss, depression, and a decrease in other cognitive functions. Seau was just 43 years old when he died.

Seau's family was told last week of the diagnosis and that it was likely caused by numerous hits to the head accumulated over a lifetime of playing football, including 20 years in the NFL. Seau was never once placed on the injured list because of concussions during his career.

This latest diagnosis only provides more evidence for the class action lawsuit brought against the NFL by thousands of former players who accuse the league of ignoring or suppressing evidence that prolonged football exposure causes permanent brain damage, and that it had poorly managed policies regarding concussions.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.