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Another life cut short by an unforgiving game [Junior Seau]
Boston Herald ^ | May 3, 2012 | Ron Borges

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 Seau’s 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 Duerson’s 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 Alzheimer’s, 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 Alzheimer’s 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,’’ Easterling’s wife, Mary Ann, told 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 Seau’s 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.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: athletes; chargers; cte; football; juniorseau; nfl; seau; suicide
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To: Dead Corpse

[ The poor babies get paid MILLIONS of dollar to PLAY a GAME.
The fact that they can’t handle life afterwards due to personal weakness is not the fault of the game... ]

Warning: Living any sort of life can lead to illness injury and eventually certain death.

61 posted on 05/03/2012 10:06:20 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: BillM
Many years ago our U of Waterloo rugby team went down to South Bend to play Notre Dame. We were told that NOBODY in the football program was allowed to play rugby because they had worn ‘armor’ all their lives and there were too many head and upper body injuries.

When Pat Haden went to Oxford to begin a Rhodes scholarship, his classmates learned that he had been a star quarterback for the USC Trojans and invited him to join the rugby team. He declined, saying, "I love my body too much."

62 posted on 05/03/2012 10:06:58 AM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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It’s a valid point. Like lung cancer, everybody that smokes doesn’t get it, so why tell people what they can and cannot do.

The facts are out there. They all know the dangers, if they look at the money and go for it, don’t ask me to ban everyone else who goes for it.

63 posted on 05/03/2012 10:11:03 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Fiji Hill

My point is that rugby does not result in these types of injuries. There is some consideration of self preservation involved.

64 posted on 05/03/2012 10:26:17 AM PDT by BillM (.)
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To: LevinFan
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.

My son has played football for 10 years and soccer for 12.

Soccer: 3 broken fingers, skull fracture, concussion, shin haematoma

Football: mildly sprained finger

I worry every soccer season. BTW ... he will be playing football in college ... at MIT ... thankfully no lasting effects from his soccer injuries.

65 posted on 05/03/2012 10:26:34 AM PDT by lkco
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
My guess is post-retirement depression (which usually manifests itself in a new career of drug-dealing). His first suicide attempt came the year after he retired. I heard Fred Smerlas talk about the phenomenon this morning.

T.O. is somebody I am very worried about, he is desperate to keep some semblance of a football career, even going so low as to play in the Arena League.....but once it's over, he's going to be in big trouble if he doesn't get his head right. He's already had one documented suicide attempt while he was playing for the Cowboys.

66 posted on 05/03/2012 10:31:51 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
Gary Speed, a Welsh soccer player about the same age as Seau, committed suicide last fall. The thinking in Speed's case was that it was caused by depression due to the end of his sporting career

That seems weird considering Speed was, at the time of his suicide, the Manager of the Welsh National Team, so certainly he still was very involved in the game.

67 posted on 05/03/2012 10:35:05 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Trailerpark Badass
These guys don't start playing football when they sign their rookie contract. Most pros have been playing since 5-6 years old, and as I said, I am more concerned about head trauma on developing brains. Frankly, I think any parent who lets his kid play football is an idiot.

Rising insurance costs are going to force a lot of schools to drop the game.

68 posted on 05/03/2012 10:36:48 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: No One Special

We may never know for sure, but it is possible his demons were not caused by football.

69 posted on 05/03/2012 10:38:05 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
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.

I pretty much now follow the English Premier League more than the NFL....going to be a fun last few weeks with the battle between United and City, and the battle to avoid the drop.

70 posted on 05/03/2012 10:38:25 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: dfwgator

-—He’s already had one documented suicide attempt while he was playing for the Cowboys-—

Very sad. I’ll say a prayer for him.

71 posted on 05/03/2012 10:39:24 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: Trailerpark Badass
I would strongly discourage anyone in my immediate family from playing football also as well as para sailing and a lot of other high risk activities. As for depressives I have dealt with more than I care to among in-laws and friends of my parents. I basically want no part of them as the ones that I have had the misfortune to know seem to want to spread their personal misery around to all the rest of us. It is their problem if they are adults and there are medical treatments that work to one degree or another and they can pursue them. Life is to short to have any part it consumed by these tiresome people's misery. I don't expect anybody to take care of me and I intensely resent the ‘Bobby is sick, we have to be sensitive to him’ crapola. It is a form of emotional blackmail and extortion ‘loving’ relatives delight in visiting upon all family members. I send enough of my earnings off to the feds, the state and the local government to pay for official ‘caring’ agencies. That represents my precious time I have spent earning those dollars. Time is the one thing one never recovers and the notion that after paying out my time in taxes I am obliged to waste more of my life over some elses unhappiness makes be physically ill.
72 posted on 05/03/2012 11:29:49 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: Zionist Conspirator
About many personal choice issues I am more and more libertarian. Whose life do i have a right to risk other than my own? If I possess my life then it is mine to dispose of as I choose. Few would choose to suit up gladiator gear and go after each other with gladius and shield or trident and net. For those who would let them have at it.

I am far more concerned with the destruction of organic (traditional) culture and the social controls it contained by the endless expansion of the therapeutic state than I am a few men risking injury on the grid iron or the arena for that matter. We have reached the point where government has become the enemy of the institutions (family, community, mediating institutions such as churches) that are along with the middle class necessary for the maintenance of our culture form. The root of this is in a philosophy that sees no foreign state or alien quarrel or no part of society that the state doesn't have an interest to protect and enlarge.

73 posted on 05/03/2012 11:44:32 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: RinaseaofDs; Tax-chick

Another thing to look at is suicides among men who retired from the NBA of MLB.

I suspect that you will see a higher incidence than the age group at large, but I don’t know about other people who play sports.

74 posted on 05/03/2012 11:45:43 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: robowombat
If I possess my life then it is mine to dispose of as I choose.

That you possess your life is an assumption, and a pretty big one at that.

75 posted on 05/03/2012 12:18:49 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: redgolum

The NHL has been alarmed lately by a couple of suicides by former players during the last off-season, and they are evaluating if concussions played a role.

76 posted on 05/03/2012 12:53:33 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: dfwgator
That is interesting. NHL players have a lot of concussions also.

But again, you need a control group of similar people. I know of (some personally) former baseball players who were very depressed after being told they couldn't play anymore.

Again, I suspect that concussions may play a role, but we don't have the data available. I am not saying it is false, but when I see a media driven event, I get suspicious.

77 posted on 05/03/2012 1:38:16 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum
... look at suicides among men who retired from the NBA or MLB

Yes, that would provide interesting data.

78 posted on 05/03/2012 1:40:50 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Skip the election and let Thomas Sowell choose the next President.)
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To: dfwgator

Te death of Speed coincided with the start of a campaign by the English footballers union to acclimate new retirees to post-playing life and some of the English media seemed to be trying to tie Speed to the issue. Then there is also Stan Collymore’s high profile depression to further make the English soccer world aware of such things.

79 posted on 05/03/2012 5:26:00 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Goldsborough

Donnie Moore was far from top shape at that time, but a lot of people were very unforgiving and unimpressed by the difficult circumstances he faced.

80 posted on 05/03/2012 5:29:40 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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