Is there a corelation between Junior Seau’s suicide and concussions he suffered during his playing career? That’s what his family as well as researchers would like to know.
According to Shawn Mitchell, San Diego Chargers chaplain, “The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn’t want to make any emotional decisions,” Mitchell informed the Los Angeles Times. “And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward.”
The medical examiner’s ruling in the case of Seau’s suicide last Wednesday is a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The absence of a suicide note makes this death even more perplexing.
Mitchell said that allowing researchers and the medical community the opportunity to examine Seau’s brain was, as the family put it, a decision “to help other individuals down the road.”
Last year, a former safety for the Chicago Bears, Dave Duerson, also took his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, ironically, to the chest. In the case of Duerson, he left behind a suicide note requesting that his brain be donated to the Boston University School of Medicine. Both the Seau and Duerson cases bear an almost uncanny similarity. They scream, “I can’t deal anymore with this. What’s happening to me?”
In the case of Duerson, it was eventually concluded by the BU School of Medicine that a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions was significant in leading to Duerson’s deep bouts of depression.
The logical choice for who studies Seau’s brain is Boston U. However, that decision has yet to be made.
The Brain Research Center at UCLA, headed by Dr. David A. Hovda, has stated that for years the medical community has known there is a corelation between brain trauma and depression.
Dr. Hovda goes on to say that, “When it happens to a person that I feel pretty confident has been exposed to repeat concussions, my first thought was, did somebody do what they could to make sure this individual knew what his exposure was in terms of concussions? What the cost was going to be after he finished his career, and what he should look out for? Was the family notified? And did he get help if he needed it?”