Soon We’ll Know More About the Connections Between an NFL Career and Suicide

It looks like some good might come of the Junior Seau tragedy:

The family of Junior Seau will allow researchers to study his brain for signs of damage caused by concussions suffered during his 20-year NFL career, according to Chargers team chaplain Shawn Mitchell.

The San Diego County medical examiner ruled Seau’s death a suicide on Thursday, a day after the former linebacker was found at his home with a gunshot wound to the chest.

“The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn’t want to make any emotional decisions,” Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday night. “And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward.”

Remember that Seau killed himself the same way former NFLer Dave Duerson did 15 months ago, spurring speculation that Seau, like Duerson, intentionally kept his brain undamaged so it could be analyzed. Sure enough, when researchers looked at Duerson’s brain, they found signs that the traumas inflicted by his NFL career may have contributed to his suicide.

I’m a big Patriots fan, but that identity is bringing with it more and more cognitive dissonance.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.