Junior Seau Found Dead In His Home, Ruled A Suicide
It’s a sad day for the football community.
TMZ.com reports that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found dead in his Oceanside, California home on Wednesday, resulting from what authorities say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Authorities and family members have since confirmed Seau’s death. He was 43-years-old.
More details of Seau’s death have emerged throughout the day. Authorities report that Seau’s girlfriend found him unconscious and unresponsive, then called 911. There was a handgun found next to his body.
Seau’s family is naturally shocked and hysterical, especially since he sent a text message on Tuesday to his ex-wife and three kids that read, “Love you.” They all responded to the text but did not believe anything was wrong. They have asked for privacy during this difficult time.
Luisa Seau, Junior’s mother, was fighting back tears during an emotional press conference outside of his home. She expressed her gratitude for the people praying for her son. “Show love to my son,” she said. Additionally, she said that she, “[doesn’t] understand who’d do this to my son.”
Though Seau’s death has been (as of now) ruled a suicide, there have been personal problems with him in the past. In October 2010, Seau drove his car off of a cliff because he fell asleep at the wheel, hours after being arrested for domestic violence for allegedly assaulting his live-in girlfriend. At the scene of the crash, authorities saw no evidence of alcohol or drugs, and though some suspected he was trying to commit suicide, Seau insists he was not and that he had simply fallen asleep at the wheel.
What could make Seau’s death even more intriguing is if his brain is examined to find evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy–more commonly known as CTE–which is the result of multiple concussions and head injuries. Dementia and depression, among other things, are symptoms of CTE. Many are already comparing Seau’s suicide to that of former safety Dave Duerson, who committed suicide in February 2011, also by a gunshot wound to the chest. Duerson had requested that his brain be examined for CTE. Neurologists confirmed that his brain did in fact have the presence of the degenerative disease that is CTE, resulting from the concussions he suffered while playing in the NFL.
Seau’s career spanned twenty seasons, playing for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots, recording over 1,500 tackles along the way. Since he shot himself in the chest, it would be surprising if his brain was not examined for CTE, which can only be found post mortem.
The future Hall of Famer was one of the best linebackers of his era, being named to 12 Pro Bowls–all consecutive, from 1991-2002–and 10 All-Pro teams–also all consecutive, from 1991-2000. Seau was also voted by the Hall of Fame as a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team. In addition to his football accomplishments, he also founded the Junior Seau Foundation in 1992, which supported the prevention of child abuse, alcohol and drugs, while also promoting recreational activities for kids in the community.
Junior Seau, beloved for his contributions on and off the football field, will surely be missed and remembered by all. It is a tragic day for his family, friends and fans.