According to ESPN, former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his suicide last May. In an interview with ESPN, Seau's widow and son claim that researchers at the National Institutes of Health informed them of the diagnosis after completing a thorough examination of Seau's brain. From the interview:
"I think it's important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE," Gina Seau said. "It's important that we take steps to help these players. We certainly don't want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes."
She said the family was told that Seau's disease resulted from "a lot of head-to-head collisions over the course of 20 years of playing in the NFL. And that it gradually, you know, developed the deterioration of his brain and his ability to think logically."
CTE is the same degenerative disease that is believed have been the cause of dementia, depression, and memory loss in a number of former athletes. Former NFL safety Dave Duerson had CTE when he, like Seau, took his own life via a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Andre Waters, a former NFL player who committed suicide in 2006, was also diagnosed with CTE.