Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chargers Great, Junior Seau Commits Suicide

TMZ originally broke this story a couple of hours ago and has confirmed that San Diego Chargers great, Junior Seau has died of a self inflicted gunshot wound. It's a tragic day for the NFL, the San Diego Chargers and football fans across America.

Junior Seau Signed Photo - (8x10
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This football fan is shocked and saddened by Seau's death. Seau played linebacker and was highly regarded as one of the greats of his era. Seau played 20 years in a position known for its physicality. Seau will be missed and his passing will allow us all to reflect, not only about his life but about the violent nature of NFL football.

I wrote an article for about a month ago, providing my opinion about the disastrous effects of concussions on former hockey players. In that article I had referenced a couple of stories that detailed studies that have been conducted on former hockey players brains. Former deceased players have provided their brains for research and while the findings aren't conclusive, there is evidence that seems to point to concussions/brain injuries and their role in a player's depression/suicide.

TMZ is also also reporting that a string of suicides in the NFL are also being blamed on concussions. We also know that their are hundreds of lawsuits against the NFL by former players, regarding the long-time effects of concussions. The evidence is starting to stack up and as it builds, we as a society and as fans will have to come to the realization that violence in sports can have a deadly price.

We're not only talking about the expected inherent risks of playing football that players knew of:
Elbow injuries
Shoulder injuries
Ankle Injuries
Other foot related injuries
Arm related injuries
and the list goes on and on...

Players now have to ready themselves for the reality that concussion related injuries can have life altering effects. Now that players are aware of the dangers, they need to prepare themselves for these risks and their sports leagues need to prepare for that probability as well.

The league needs to develop a counseling program centered around concussions/brain injuries. They need to provide resources for retired and ex players who've had brain injuries. These resources can include monitoring, counseling, drug rehabilitation, etc, etc.

I hope that Seau's death is not in vain. I hope that former and current players can learn from this tragedy and seek help if they require it. I hope that the NFL and other leagues will have an open policy for players who seek assistance in dealing with post-concussion related symptoms, including drug and alcohol addiction.

Hopefully we will look back at Seau's death and be able to say that his death played a roll in saving other players from the same fate.

Rest in Piece Junior. I hope you are in a better place right now!

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