Skip to comments.Another life cut short by an unforgiving game [Junior Seau]
Posted on 05/03/2012 4:17:30 AM PDT by No One Special
Professional football should come with a warning label. Like cigarettes, football can be hazardous to your health ... and all too frequently lately it can be fatal.
If the sad truth of Junior Seaus tragic death yesterday is that it came by his own hand, as Oceanside, Calif., police believe was the case, he is only the latest example of the ravages of a sport whose concussive demands seem to be regularly destroying its own.
Only a week ago, Ray Easterling, a former defensive back with the Atlanta Falcons, took his life in similar fashion with a handgun that lay by his side when his wife found his body inside their home in Richmond, Va. Seau was found similarly in a bedroom overlooking the Pacific Ocean by his girlfriend yesterday morning.
Like ex-Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who took his life a year ago, Seau apparently shot himself in the chest. In Duersons case a note he left made clear he had done so to preserve his brain for study by a Boston University medical team tying head trauma in sports to the presence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a protein buildup in the brain causing progressive degenerative deterioration.
The accumulation of tau protein kills certain parts of the brain related to impulse control and results in dementia, early onset Alzheimers, memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression. Often it leads to suicide.
Easterling was the lead plaintiff in the first of what has become an avalanche of lawsuits filed by more than 1,000 retired NFL players against the league, charging it with knowingly and willingly ignoring information tying concussions with long-term brain damage. According to the Easterling lawsuit filed last August, the NFL continuously and vehemently denied that it knew, should have known or believed that there is any relationship between NFL players suffering concussions while playing ... and long-term problems such as headaches, dizziness, dementia and/or Alzheimers disease that many retired players have experienced.
Easterling, 62, allegedly suffered bouts of depression, insomnia and other symptoms linked to repeated head trauma for 20 years before being diagnosed a year ago with dementia. Seau was 43 when he took his life, barely three years after the end of a 20-year NFL career in which he was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and the definition of the often misused term first ballot Hall of Famer.
He felt like his brain was falling off, Easterlings wife, Mary Ann, told foxsports.com after his death. He was losing control.
Now we have Seau, a gentle bear of a man known in San Diego not only for his exemplary playing career but also for his charitable foundation begun 20 years ago and for a popular restaurant that bore his name. He had, it would seem, everything to live for, but ended up alone and despairing in his final minutes after having texted his ex-wife, Gina DeBoer, and their three children individually I love you the previous day.
None thought much of it beyond appreciating that expression, but late yesterday DeBoer responded to the tragedy on her Facebook page with one word: lost.
There is so much pain in that one word and in Seaus passing. Anyone who knew him quickly recognized his passion for football and life, a man easily approachable and openly kind, even to strangers.
Now he is gone in a haze very likely caused by the savagery of the game he loved. Pro football and the men who run it have much to think about this morning beyond grief. They have to think about where their game is headed.
There are other sports that have similar issues.
The problem with football is that there is to much padding. As Dikta said, take away the face masks and they will stop leading with their heads.
I have seen other people who left sports suffer from depression. It is actually very common. Did the head trauma have an effect? It may. But leaving the game they love and have dedicated their life to is very upsetting.
I could be wrong but I think Ali is at the point where he is incapable of taking his own life even if he wanted to.
Last I heard, soccer was almost as safety as shuffle board. All sports activities have some physical risks, but football is by far the worst. Especially with the competition for an NFL position.
Do what your want, but I wouldn’t allowed a child of mine to play football, and would discourage them from watching. Football is a pure blood sport that is as vicious as gladatorial games in rome.
And Ali has endured a debilitating, neurological illness
Football isn't the worst for injuries, but it is the most popular. Boxing and MMA takes a much harder tole on people.
So, on the one hand: lots of money, fame, etc. On the other, brain damage. I think NFL players picked their poison.
What about soccer, which features the "head shot," in which the player uses his head to hit the ball? And don't forget baseball. Tony Conigliaro's death at the age of 45 was probably due, at least in part, to having been hit in the head by a bean ball.
I agree. Football players nowadays use their bodies as missiles and too often lead with their heads. That’s not the way the game used to be played. It’s the product of up-armoring the players.
Football has always been a rough game, but I’d bet that if one could find reliable comparative statistics from 1930 through the 1960’s or so, one would not find nearly the modern incidence of brain injury. A comparison with rugby players would also be instructive.
...should read ‘clocked by a bat once or twice’. Could be that brain damage kicking in early. ;-)
And no more face masking penalties. However, a lot more broken noses, black eyes etc. Better those though than concussions. My father played four years of college ball in the days when you played both defense and offense (center and linebacker)....all with a leather helmet. His only injury was a broken leg while coaching.
My guess is that “ost-retirement depression” is caused by a forced life style change imposed by lack of money. These guys during their playing years invariably live a life style as though it will go on forever. Then, when the music stops and hence the money stops they can't deal with it. Result, suicide....
Injuries in baseball are usually minor compared to football, and they don’t get hit in the head very often. in football, they make physical contact in almost every play. And by physical contact, I mean someone gets body slammed each time.
I’d agreed that hitting a ball with your head in soccer isn’t too bright, it isn’t the same as getting hit by a 200+ lb. man coming at you in full charge, with five more right behind him.
What is MMA?
However, KOOKS has been opposed by Big Soccer, which includes corporate giants such as Addidas which have a financial stake in the sport.
This is a joke, right? I can’t see rush ever involved in something like that.
Then there's the well-known sad case of relief pitcher Donnie Moore's suicide a few months after his baseball career ended.
Considering the way the NFL establishment has treated him over the years, Limbaugh might ought to think about favoring soccer football over American gridiron football.
Mixed Martial Arts.
Boxing using more than your hands. Very brutal