Junior Seau, one of the NFL’s best and fiercest players for two decades, suffered from a degenerative brain disease often associated with repeated blows to the head when he committed suicide last May, the National Institutes of Health said in a study released Thursday.
The NIH, based in Bethesda, Md., said Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. It said that the study included unidentified brains, one of which was Seau’s, and that the findings on Seau were similar to autopsies of people ‘‘with exposure to repetitive head injuries.’’
Seau’s family requested the analysis of his brain.
The star linebacker played for 20 NFL seasons with San Diego, Miami and New England before retiring in 2009. He died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound.
He joins a list of several dozen football players who were found to have CTE. Boston University’s center for study of the disease reported last month that 34 former pro players and nine who played only college football suffered from CTE…
The NFL faces lawsuits by thousands of former players who say the league withheld information on the harmful effects of concussions. According to an AP review of 175 lawsuits, 3,818 players have sued. At least 26 Hall of Famer members are among the players who have done so.
Seau is not the first former NFL player who killed himself, then was found to have CTE. Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling are the others.
Dr. Russell Lonser, who oversaw the study, said Seau’s brain was ‘‘independently evaluated by multiple experts, in a blind fashion.’’
‘‘We had the opportunity to get multiple experts involved in a way they wouldn’t be able to directly identify his tissue even if they knew he was one of the individuals studied,’’ he said.
Cripes. I don’t know what the numbers are nowadays; but, BITD the pension plan used to kick in for NFL veterans at age 55. There was a very good reason for that – courtesy of actuaries who work for those humanist guardians of our lives, the insurance companies. The average lifespan, then, for ex-NFL athletes was 54. When the rest of us were living a decade-and-a-half longer.