Navigation Links
NFL's Seau Had Brain Trauma at Time of Suicide, Report Finds

By Margaret Steele
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- When former National Football League star linebacker Junior Seau killed himself last year, he had a catastrophic brain disorder probably brought on by repeated hits to the head, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has concluded.

The NIH scientists who studied Seau's brain determined that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). They told the Associated Press on Thursday that the cellular changes they saw were similar to those found in autopsies of people "with exposure to repetitive head injuries."

The disorder -- characterized by impulsivity, depression and erratic behavior -- is only diagnosed after death.

Seau, 43, who played pro football for 20 seasons before his retirement in 2009, shot himself in the chest last May. His family donated his brain for research.

Some experts suspect -- but can't prove -- that CTE led to Seau's suicide.

"Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is the thing we have typically seen in a lot of the athletes," said Dr. Howard Derman, director at the Methodist Concussion Center in Houston.

"Rather than say 'this caused this,' I think the observation is that there have been multiple [pro football] players now who have committed suicide: Dave Duerson, Andre Waters, John Grimsley -- although Grimsley was just reported as a gun accident," Derman said.

Some argue that these players became depressed once they were out of the limelight or because of marital or financial difficulties, but Derman thinks the evidence goes beyond that.

"Yes, all that may be going on ... but it still remains that the majority of these players who have committed suicide do have changes of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. We feel that that is also playing a role in their mental state."

But, Derman cautioned, "I can't say that chronic traumatic encephalopathy causes players to commit suicide."

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy was first noticed in boxers who suffered blows to the head over many years. In recent years, concerns about CTE have led high school and college programs to restrict hits to the head, and the National Football League prohibits helmet-to-helmet hits.

About 4,000 former NFL players filed a class-action lawsuit last year claiming the league failed to protect players from traumatic brain injuries or warn them about the dangers of concussions.

The NFL has said that it never intentionally hid the dangers of concussion from players, and that it is now doing everything it can to protect players against concussions. The league has given a $30 million research grant to the National Institutes of Health for that purpose.

"I was not surprised after learning a little about CTE that he had it," Seau's son, Tyler, 23, told the AP. "He did play so many years at that level. I was more just kind of angry [that] I didn't do something more and have the awareness to help him more, and now it is too late."

Seau's son said the family was unaware of the side effects associated with head injuries. "We didn't know his behavior was from head trauma," he said.

Seau's ex-wife, Gina Seau, told ABC News that although her ex-husband was never formally diagnosed with a concussion, he often complained of symptoms that are related to one. Those symptoms included mood swings, irrational behavior, forgetfulness, insomnia and depression.

Dr. Russell Lonser, who led the study on Seau's brain, told the AP that the brain was independently evaluated in a "blind" fashion, meaning it was one of three unidentified brains. "We had the opportunity to get multiple experts involved in a way [that] they wouldn't be able to directly identify his tissue even if they knew he was one of the individuals studied," Lonser said.

Last month, Boston University School of Medicine researchers reported in the journal Brain that people with CTE experience four specific phases, beginning with memory disruption and thinking problems and ending with aggression.

The Boston researchers said the condition had been diagnosed in 34 former professional players and nine former college football players.

Seau, who was divorced, played with New England, San Diego and Miami during his NFL career.

More information

For more about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, see the American Academy of Neurology.

SOURCES: Howard Derman, M.D., medical director, Methodist Concussion Center, Houston; Associated Press; ABC News

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
2. Epilepsy Leads to More Brain Abnormalities Over Time
3. UCLA Brain Injury Research Center gets NCAA funding for research on sports concussions
4. Why is traumatic brain injury increasing among the elderly?
5. Brain Falters Near End of Life, but Games, Puzzles Might Slow Decline
6. Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors
7. Nonsurgical Method to Measure Brain Pressure Shows Promise
8. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
9. Football-related catastrophic brain injuries on the rise
10. Brain Tumor Vaccine Shows Promise in Early Trial
11. Brain Surgery Might Ease Tough-to-Treat OCD
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
NFL's Seau Had Brain Trauma at Time of Suicide, Report Finds 
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... is everything. That is why Hollister Incorporated has launched the VaPro Plus Pocket™ ... next product in the VaPro touch free catheter portfolio,” said Michael Gresavage, Vice ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... McLean, VA., December 1, 2015 - ... per sprint agile development contract to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA) IT ... software engineering, infrastructure, as well as operations and sustainment support to the NGA’s ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... XTC Semifinals 2016 - CES, Las Vegas, Nevada - Extreme ... 2016, the world’s largest Consumer Electronic Show, where they will present to a panel ... Pacific Investments Veronica Serra, and venture capitalist Tim Draper among many other top names ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, ... ... honored by Modern Luxury’s Angeleno Magazine as a Modern Man for 2015. ... luxury lifestyle publisher in the United States. Established in 1994, Modern Luxury includes ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Brooke Bennett are collaborating with brands across various categories through traditional and social ... make up an elite group of Gold Medal Moms who can connect with ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... TELTOW, Germany , December 1, 2015 ... a leading global manufacturer of eye and gaze tracking ... included SMI remote eye trackers as a component of ... assess concussions, eye sight, and medical and performance issues ... is part of SMI,s mass-market-ready eye tracking platform, which ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015  Lexicon ... today that top-line data from its TELECAST ... etiprate in treating carcinoid syndrome in cancer ... the clinical benefit observed in its pivotal ... as a companion to TELESTAR primarily to ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. ... Andrew Gengos , President and Chief Executive ... December 3, 2015. Mr. Gengos plans to ... program in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma ... TIME:    12:15p.m. ET/9:15a.m. PT LINK: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: