It turns out that the family of former NFL player Junior Seau, who committed suicide Wednesday, will permit his brain to be examined and studied by researchers, according to The New York Times.
In a story Saturday, The Times reported that a chaplain for the San Diego Chargers, one of the teams that Seau used to play with, told the newspaper that his survivors will let his brain be examined by researchers who are studying the long-term impact of repeated concussions on athletes.
There have been a handful of ex-NFL players who have committed suicide in the past few years, with the most recent one just about two weeks ago. In that case, former Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling, who is one of hundreds of ex-players that are suing the league over the long-term impact of concussions, fatally shot himself April 19.
Seau’s suicide mirrored that of former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson in February 2011. Duerson shot himself in the chest, saying in a suicide note that he wanted his brain to be donated for research on football brain injuries. Although he didn’t leave a note, Seau also shot himself in the chest, like Duerson.
Several of the ex-player suicides — including those of Duerson and Easterling — have been linked to depression, memory loss and other cognitive problems that these athletes developed after their football careers ended.
Duerson’s brain showed that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease that’s been linked to repeated head trauma.
According to The Times, 18 of 19 ex-NFL players whose brains have been examined at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy had CTE.
It wasn’t known where Seau’s brain will be studied, The Times reported.