BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Shock, sadness and disbelief among football players and fans over the apparent suicide of pro-ball linebacker Junior Seau.
Mary Bubala has more on the questions being raised about his sudden death.
Seau’s body was found Wednesday in his California home. His death has many talking about the lingering effects of football’s hard hits.
No conclusive medical evidence links concussions and suicide but a leading university with ties to a Baltimore Ravens player is gaining ground.
In a 20-year career in the NFL, Seau made more than 1,800 tackles, becoming one of the most feared linebackers in the game.
Seau was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
His death comes after the suicide last year of former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson. He shot himself in the chest so his brain would be preserved for science.
Boston University researchers concluded he suffered from degenerative disease of the brain that can lead to depression.
“Your brain, it is just being constantly jostled around,” Ravens center Matt Birk said.
Birk has pledged to donate his brain to the same research at Boston University some day.
“What concerns me is the repeated trauma, hard hits. I have had three concussions,” Birk said.
More than 1,500 former players are now suing the NFL, claiming that for years, it ignored evidence that repeated blows to the head trigger CTE, linked to memory loss, depression and dementia.
That includes the family of Baltimore Colts legend John Mackey who passed away after suffering from dementia for years.
Just last month, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling committed suicide. He was suffering from dementia at age 62.
Former tackle Kyle Turley, who knew Seau, speculates that he may have paid a price for being a football great.
“He played hard, tough and resilient, and there is no doubt that the toll his brain took at the position he played, it will most undoubtedly show as a factor,” Turley said.
Seau’s ex-wife is confirming that her former husband did sustain many concussions during his 20-year NFL career.