The death of former NFL linebacker and San Diego legend Junior Seau has sent shockwaves throughout the community. Seau apparently took his own life on May 2 and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Seau played for the San Diego Chargers the majority of his career, from 1990 through 2002, before leaving for the Miami Dolphins. Seau played his college career nearby at the University of Southern California. Along with being an exceptional talent on the field, Seau was known for his charity work and involvement in the community.
Seau’s death comes at a time of great debate about how the NFL and football in general protects its players from brain injury. The continuous shots to the head and wear on the brain could lead to depression, dementia and an array of medical conditions. Scientists are learning more and more about the effects of playing football, and the results are deeply troubling. Institutions such as the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI) in West Virginia and Boston University have conducted brain research on deceased former NFL players.
Over 1,500 former NFL players have sued the NFL for severe head injuries, some claiming the NFL concealed evidence linking the hits to brain damage. Researchers have discovered that post-secondary concussion impact to the head as well as repeated long-term impact actually change the chemical makeup of the human brain.
“In a weird way, we wish we didn’t have to do this research,” said Garret Webster of BIRI.
This is certainly research that needs to continue. Players assume a risk when they participate in football, but they deserve to have all the information at their disposal before assuming the risk. The NFL needs to be sure it fully educates its players about the associated risks.
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego personal injury attorney.