Junior Seau is one of the greatest linebackers in the NFL. Drafted fifth overall in 1990 by the San Diego Chargers, he also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
In 1991, he went to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate. In 1993, he recorded 129 tackles, 110 of the tackles by himself for the Chargers.
Seau produced many more great stats in his career, but his life was cut short, too short for many people.
On May 2, 2012, Junior Seau’s girlfriend found him dead at his house in Oceanside, Calif. His death has been ruled a suicide.
It is believed that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, which is a disease in the brain that can cause depression, memory loss, aggression, etc. It happens when an athlete has had many concussions and don’t rest to let their head recover.
Former NFL players have argued with the league about the health of former players. Some have even sued the NFL about the league being negligent about long term health issues for the former players.
The NFL has funded research for head trauma and other health issues for former and current players in the NFL.
In addition, the NFL has started to try and do something about it. They started enforcing stricter rules on current players. The referees have enforced tougher penalties on head shots and dives at the knees. The NFL has also been strict on keeping players out of the game when they have concussions.
With Seau’s death being ruled a suicide, the NFL is going to have to take a harder look at how they are going to help out the former players with their long term health. To start, the league should put more money towards player’s health insurance. They also need to take a harder look at trying to determine how these head traumas have affected the former NFL players like CTE.