The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau will allow his brain to be examined by researchers who study head trauma, according to a chaplain for the San Diego Chargers.
Seau, 43, was found dead in his Oceanside, Calif., home Wednesday morning of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He did not leave a note.
Shawn Mitchell, the Chargers’ chaplain and a pastor with New Venture Christian Fellowship, said he had been in touch with the Seau family and it decided to allow researchers to examine Seau’s brain for signs of trauma.
“Junior was philanthropic,” Mitchell said. “And he got that from his mom and dad. Their hope is that it can serve athletes down the road.”
In February 2011, ex-Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, saying in a note he wanted his brain donated to the study of football head injuries. After studying Duerson’s brain, doctors determined he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative, progressive brain disease.
Seau was the second former NFL player to commit suicide in the past two weeks. Ray Easterling, a safety for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1970s and a plaintiff in a high-profile lawsuit against the league over its handling of concussion-related injuries, died April 19 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Eighteen of 19 ex-players whose brains were studied at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy were found to have had CTE. It was not clear where Seau’s brain would be studied.
- Seau’s family gives brain to research (ijrnews.com)
- Doctors to examine Junior Seau’s brain – CNN (cnn.com)
- Junior Seau’s brain to be donated for research (ctv.ca)
- Junior Seau’s Brain to be Donated for Research (kstp.com)
- Chaplain: Junior Seau’s brain being donated for research (tbo.com)