Ex-NFL player Junior Seau’s brain may not wind up being donated for research, according to various press reports Monday.
Seau was Samoan, and his family were slated to meet with elders from their culture before they made a final decision on letting his brain be studied by researchers. Seau, 43, committed suicide last week by shooting himself in the chest at his California home.
Researchers want to examine Seau’s brain to determine if he had injury or disease, from playing pro football, that could have made him kill himself.
According to CNN.com, Seau’s parents are from the island of Aunu’u, part of American Samoa.
In a statement, Seau’s family said, “The Seau family is currently revisiting several important family decisions and placing them on hold in order to confer with their elders. All possibilities are being considered, but one will be acted upon until the Seaus arrive at an agreed upon direction.”
Junior’s pastor, Shawn Miller, is also the chaplain for the San Diego Chargers, where Junior played.
Miller told CNN.com that as a linebacker, Seau had “the most havoc-ridden position on the team. He suffered many concussions, so there is a strong sense that it played a role.”
Several former NFL players have committed suicide in the past few years, and a number of them suffered from degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
Last year former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, suffering from depression and memory loss, committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, which is what Seau did. Duerson didn’t want to destroy his brain by shooting himself in the head, and he left a note saying he wanted his brain studied. In fact, the examination of his brain showed that he had a degenerative disease.
Mitchell told CNN that the fact that Seau also shot himself in the chest is a sign that he also wanted his brain donated for examination by researchers.
It’s up to the family to decide.