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Junior Seau, brain injuries and the NFL

May 08, 2012

In light of Junior Seau’s suicide, the question of brain injuries and its relation to blows in the head while playing for the NFL is a subject that will need to be revisited. A former NFL player, Harry Carson, recently visited the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in New Jersey and discussed the topic of concussions that past and present players have suffered.

Carson claims that even in his playing days back in the 1980s he saw a connection between the neurological problems that players were suffering and these same players’ suicidal tendencies. Carson added that the depression so many players suffer from has little to do with them no longer playing the game they love. “You’re depressed because you’re having neurological issues that are very difficult to describe.”

Carson recalled his own suicidal impulses and how it was often difficult to verbalize what was going on because so few people understood the issues that he was dealing with. The traumatic head injuries only made dealing with such impulses all the worse.

It has been a year now since an autopsy was conducted upon former NFL player Dave Duerson who, like Junior Seau, also died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. Neuro-scientists diagnosed Duerson with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage that has now been diagnosed in as many as 20 deceased NFL players. Unfortunately, such a diagnosis can only be revealed during an autopsy and after the player has died.

Lawsuits will be brought by attorneys representing the players where the long term consequences of brain damage are present. However, such brain damage is not limited to NFL football players or even high school or college players. The same consequences can occur for anyone injured and suffering concussions.

More steps need to be taken to make certain such brain trauma is prevented.

Source: New Jersey Newsroom, “NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson, mentor to Junior Seau, makes head trauma a priority,” by Adele Sammarco, May 4, 2012

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