Former NFL linebacker,Junior Seau's family will donate his brain his brain for research on head trauma, the New York Times reports. Seau was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Oceanside, CA home Wednesday morning.
According to Shawn Mitchell, the San Diego Chargers' team chaplain, the Seau family decided Thursday to allow researchers to examine Seau's brain in order to determine if Seau had experienced brain trauma during his 20 year career.
In an interview Friday, Mitchell said the family will also use the research as a way to help athletes and families who have dealt with similar situations, The Chicago Sun-Times reports.
According to SI.com, Mitchell doesn't know where Junior's brain is being sent.
In February 2011, Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, leaving a note saying he wanted his brain to be donated for football head injury research, The New York Times reports. Seau also shot himself in the chest, but did not leave a note.
The examination of Duerson's brain revealed a progressive brain disease called chronic encephalopathy. Duerson's son Tregg is suing the NFL for not doing enough to warn players about the dangers of head injuries. Some have speculated Junior Seau committed suicide because of a similar disorder.
Junior Seau played for the San Diego Chargers for 13 seasons. He was the second former NFL player to commit suicide in the past 2 weeks, The NY Times reports. Ray Easterling, who played for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1970s, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on April 19.
ESPN reports that Easterling's wife said he suffered from dementia and depression.
About 6 months ago Easterling decided he wanted his brain to be studied by researchers at Boston University in the same research center where Dave Duerson's brain was examined, ESPN reports.
Unlike in the case of Ray Easterling, friends and family of Junior Seau said they weren't aware of any depression or other issues that may have to led to him wanting to take his own life.