In recent years, the NFL has become especially concerned about the long-term risks of concussions suffered by its players on the field. That issue grows especially murky today, with the surprising news that former football hero Junior Seau has been found dead in his Oceanside, CA, home of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
There have been several former players in recent years who have commited suicide by shooting themselves in the chest, apparently in an effort to allow their brains to be studied by scientists who hope to learn more about the damage caused by concussions. Last year, a former member of the Chicago Bears was also found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Seau played linebacker for 13 years with the San Diego Chargers, including helping carry the team to the Super Bowl in 1994. Oddly, Seau is the eighth member of that Super Bowl team to have died before the age of 45. Seau retired in 2009.
In 2009, Seau managed to survive a car accident in which his SUV plummetted off of a 100-foot cliff. This had happened mere hours after he was arrested for investigation of domestic assault in a home he shared with his girlfriend.
Seau's ex-wife Gina says she is "stunned and shocked," and says that he indeed sustained concussions throughout his career. Our hearts go out to the family.