Junior Seau’s Death Draws More Focus to NFL’s Issues with Head Injuries

Junior Seau's Death Draws More Focus to NFL's Issues with Head Injuries

Below is a news summary by Paige Jones, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.

(from Sports Business Journal, May 3, 2012) Junior Seau, a former NFL player, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on May 2, 2012. Seau, who was commonly known as a legend to the NFL community had dedicated 13 of his 20 seasons with the Chargers. Frank McCoy, the Oceanside Police Chief noted the handgun to be near Seau’s body and identifying the death as a suicide.

Many are in dismay, but curious of his sudden death. Jim Trotter of SI.com explained, “He is now the third retired player in the last 15 months to commit suicide.” Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner relates, “All of us are deeply saddened about Junior Seau, a great player loved by teammates who also worked hard to service his community.” In addition to these two statements, NBC News’ Brian Williams mentions, “Seau now joins a growing sad list of players who have found their post-game years filled with too much pain to go on.”

Medical professionals are investigating the cause of death. Currently, they are examining the brain to see if there was any damage done to it during Seau’s football career. Jonathan Tamari, a reporter of the Philadelphia Inquirer remarks, “Doctors have cautioned they have not established a definite link between brain injuries and suicide.” If head trauma determines to be the cause of his death, many lawsuits will take place for the lack of warning about the long-term of this injury.

With head trauma as the largest issue the NFL has to face, many athletic professionals are examining the negative trends of the game. Will Bunch, a reporter for Philly.com notes, “When your players are dying twenty years before everyone else, when the suicide of a beloved and successful athlete in his 40’s becomes a familiar headline, you do not have a public-relations problem. You have a full-blown crisis that is undermining the very essence of your sport.”  ABC News’ Josh Elliot explains, “If somebody like Junior Seau is linked to this, it is going to change the game entirely.”