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.
It ain't just you. And I'm certainly glad to learn it ain't just me.
Every single NFL game is shown on regular network television. But unless you pay $50+ a month you don't get to watch baseball games other than sat. afternoons and the post-season. We get fewer games on satellite than we used to get on cable.
The MLB channel is a joke. The ESPN stations show a lot of games only for the first couple weeks. Then it's a trickle. And we've gone from getting to follow the Braves, Cardinals, and Reds to just the Braves. Even WGN doesn't show as many Cubs games as it used to.
I'd like to see how NFL fans would react if they were denied their games like we baseball fans are.
As I said above, the hypothesis that football-related brain damage is a factor in the suicides (and other neurological problems) is reasonable. It should be studied further. It’s possible - practically certain, in fact - that there are also other factors in each individual case.
“That is not accurate. According to NIMH, the highest rate (14.3 per 100,000) is for people 65 and older. The next highest is ages 20-24, followed by 15-19.
The author’s logic is correct, as far as it goes. If men from age groups that are less likely to commit suicide are doing so in unexpected numbers, then perhaps they have a significant factor in common: a factor such as head trauma. This reasoning doesn’t prove the causation, but the article says physical studies and other research are being done on the subject.”
I have to say, this display of knowledge, logic, and scientific discipline may have turned me on a little. I see it so rarely, and when I do, the reaction is nearly physical.
You sure you want to go there? (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)
I apologize for the off-topic posts. I don't follow football but it sounds as if this Junior Seau was a relatively nice fellow, and of course suicide is always tragic. Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.
You can't possibly mean that. The gladiators fought to the death. Please tell us you aren't really that "libertarian."
I laughed at that, too!
And yes, it’s a very sad event, regardless of the immediate cause of his suicide.
The fact that they can't handle life afterwards due to personal weakness is not the fault of the game...
That's not likely. Limbaugh once said that the only reason to attend a soccer game is to watch the fans of the losing team riot.
Why, thank you! I sometimes have a similar reaction to a particularly brilliant Thomas Sowell column ;-).
It’s amazing that a simple application of the scientific method - make an observation, form a hypothesis of the cause, TEST the hypothesis, repeat as necessary - could be so unusual, but it seems that many of the comments go from “form a hypothesis” to “declare the hypothesis correct” with no concept of intermediate steps.
Jr's entire career was when Steroid use was rampant at all levels, even in High School. So besides the naturally occurring brain trauma from playing what about an added connection like 'Steroid withdrawal'?
You can just tell by looking at these ex-players that they were 'juiced' while playing as a couple years after retiring they're body mass is like 40% of what it was. That just doesn't happen and just isn't normal.
And I mean a connection to all Pro players who commit suicide, not just in the NFL. That connection should be looked at too. Not just the knocks to the head causing depression. After all we do know that 'Roid Rage' exists. That can't be the only effect it has on the brain.
(I just looked at Wiki. Depression can, or MAY, be caused by Steroid use, but the study was 'inconclusive'.)
[ 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.
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."
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.
My point is that rugby does not result in these types of injuries. There is some consideration of self preservation involved.
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.
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.
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.
Rising insurance costs are going to force a lot of schools to drop the game.
We may never know for sure, but it is possible his demons were not caused by 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.
-—He’s already had one documented suicide attempt while he was playing for the Cowboys-—
Very sad. I’ll say a prayer for him.
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.
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.
That you possess your life is an assumption, and a pretty big one at that.
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.
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.
Yes, that would provide interesting data.
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.
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.
Which ones committed suicide?
Boxers are really asking for it,too. Our skulls were not meant for that kind of impact and the brain wasn’t designed to be jerked around in the skull!
NJ->Give me a break. He had been divorced TEN YEARS.
I didn't know. That's why I asked. What else had happened in his life recently?