Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma when he committed suicide last spring...
Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma when he committed suicide last spring, the National Institutes of Health said Thursday.
The findings were consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease widely connected to athletes who have absorbed frequent blows to the head, the NIH said in a statement. Seau is the latest and most prominent player to be associated with the disease, which has bedeviled the sport in recent years as a proliferation of studies has exposed the possible long-term cognitive impact of head injuries sustained on the field.
“The type of findings seen in Mr. Seau’s brain have been recently reported in autopsies of individuals with exposure to repetitive head injury,” the NIH said, “including professional and amateur athletes who played contact sports, individuals with multiple concussions and veterans exposed to blast injury and other trauma.”
Since CTE was diagnosed in the brain of former Eagles defensive back Andre Waters after his suicide in 2006, the disease has been found in nearly every former player whose brain was examined posthumously. (CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously.)
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