The Seau family has decided to donate the former NFL player’s brain for medical study. Researchers want to study Junior Seau’s brain to learn more about the repetitive concussions players in the NFL experience. The chaplain for the San Diego Chargers, Shawn Mitchell said that the family would allow researchers to have access to Junior’s brain to investigate the long-term effects of being hit in the head, in order to help other players in the future.
Seau played for 20 seasons in the NFL and was found on Wednesday by his girlfriend in their Oceanside home with a gunshot wound to the chest. His suicide echoed that of former Chicago Bears Dave Duerson who also shot himself to death just over a year ago at the age of 50.
Duerson had struggled with depression for a number of years and left a note telling his family to donate his brain for medical research to Boston University. Later researchers at the university said Duerson suffered from a disease linked to head concussions, which helped bring on his troubles with depression.
Seau did not leave a suicide note, but on Thursday the Medical Examiner’s Office formally announced that Seau’s death was a suicide. From the beginning, the family had considered donating Seau’s brain for study. The studies about brain damage from concussions has come amid a number of legal cases brought against the league by former players over concussions, including one suit filed on Thursday by over 100 former pros.
A total of over 1,600 former NFL players were pursuing legal action in one form or another, accusing the NFL of not doing enough to help protect players from brain injuries.