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Various Authors 11:01 a.m., April 23
Both ESPN and ABC News are reporting this morning (Jan. 10) that former star Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May, suffered from a debilitating brain disease attributed to 20 years of absorbing hard hits to the head in his National Football League career, according to Talking Points Memo. After some delay, Seau's family had donated sections of his brain to neuroscientists at the National Institutes for Health.
According to ABC News, "A team of independent researchers who did not know they were studying Seau's brain all concluded that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease typically caused by multiple hits to the head."
" What was found in Junior Seau's brain was cellular changes consistent with CTE," said Dr. Russell Lonser, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University, who led the study of Seau's brain while he was at NIH.
Patients with CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death, display symptoms "such as impulsivity, forgetfulness, depression [and] sometimes suicidal ideation," Lonser said.
The report may have legal implications, as the NFL has been hit with lawsuits from former players and their survivors regarding injuries.