It sounds like Junior Seau's family is one step closer to solving the mystery surrounding his tragic death.
Recently, Seau's family, including his ex-wife Gina Seau and his oldest son Tyler Seau, sat down with ABC News and ESPN to discuss the life and death of the legendary NFL linebacker. During the course of the interview, they revealed that, after Seau committed suicide last May, they sent his brain to be studied at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. There, doctors found that Seau suffered from a type of chronic brain damage called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative condition that causes dementia, memory loss, and depression.
"I think it's important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE," Gina Seau said. "It's important that we take steps to help these players. We certainly don't want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes."
So, how did Seau actually get CTE? Well, as you might expect, doctors believe he acquired the condition after sustaining a number of head-to-head collisions over the course of his NFL career. They found scarring in certain areas of his brain that would suggest that he sustained hits that affected him long after his playing days were over. And, they think that the damage that occurred was enough to cause him to suffer from CTE.
Seau obviously isn't the first former NFL player to suffer from CTE. As ESPN points out in their article about Seau's death, a recent Boston University study recently confirmed at least 50 other cases of CTE in deceased men who used to play NFL and college football. And, there are likely going to be more cases of CTE found in deceased football players in the years to come.
Unfortunately, this entire situation is probably only going to get worse—much, much worse—before it gets any better. But, let's hope that some good, in the form of additional research and studies on CTE, will come out of Seau's death.