New York, NY (Sports Network) - Former NFL star linebacker Junior Seau
reportedly suffered from a brain disease, likely caused by two decades worth
of blows to the head, when he killed himself last May.
Seau ended his life at his home in California with a gunshot to the chest.
Many believed he shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for testing,
and his family members donated it to neuroscientists at the National
Institutes for Health.
According to a report from ABC News and ESPN, Seau's family members said
researchers have concluded that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic
encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease typically caused by multiple hits
to the head.
Seau, who was just 43 years old when he died, was known as one of the hardest
hitters during his 20 NFL seasons. He spent 13 years with San Diego, three
with Miami and four with New England before retiring after the 2009 season.
The 12-time Pro Bowl selection is just the latest former NFL player to be
diagnosed with CTE, which can only be ascertained after death.
Former NFL defensive back Dave Duerson, who played with the Chicago Bears, New
York Giants and Arizona Cardinals, also killed himself in 2011 and was found
to have CTE. He asked his family to donate his brain for testing.
The Seau report could also be another blow to the NFL in its ongoing issues
with concussions and brain disease. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against
the league by former players who have alleged the NFL knew about the dangers
of concussions and other head injuries, but did nothing to protect the
"We appreciate the Seau family's cooperation with the National Institutes of
Health," the NFL said in a statement Thursday. "The finding underscores the
recognized need for additional research to accelerate a fuller understanding
of CTE. The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for
Disease Control and other leading organizations, is committed to supporting a
wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both
address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all
levels. The NFL clubs have already committed a $30 million research grant to
the NIH, and we look forward to making decisions soon with the NFL Players
Association on the investment of $100 million for medical research that is
committed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have work to do, and
we're doing it."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made player safety among his chief concerns
in recent years.
The Sports Network