The family of former San Diego Charger Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May, has decided to have tissue from his brain analyzed for damage, according to press reports last week.
Shortly after Seau’s death, his family’s pastor said that the survivors were thinking about having the ex-NFL player’s brain tested to see if it has been impacted by head injuries he sustained on the field.
Last week, it was revealed that sample tissue from Seau’s brain had in fact been sent to the National Institutes of Health for study, according to Reuters.
“The National Institutes of Health is not directly involved in an analysis of former NFL player Junior Seau’s cause of death, but physicians at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conduct research on traumatic brain injury and have agreed to carry out an analysis of the autopsied tissues,” the institutes said in a statement.
In addition, the institutes said, “In order to protect Mr. Seau’s children’s right to privacy, NIH will not discuss the status of the tissue or any subsequent findings.”
Seau, 43, is one of several ex-NFL and National Hockey League players who have committed suicide, and experts suspect that the repeated concussions that these athletes suffered gave them permanent brain damage, including loss of memory, dementia and depression. Those ailments, in turn, led to the suicides, some contend.
Seau shot himself in the chest May 2.
But according to Reuters, a study published earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that NFL players “had a lower rate of suicide than the general public.”