When Junior Seau tragically committed suicide, he shot himself in the chest.
Usually, suicide by gunshot is a self-inflicted wound to the head, but Junior did it in the chest. Was it so his brain could be studied afterwards? Possibly.
His family is planning to donate his brain to science, hopefully so researchers can learn more about the possible link between multiple blows to the head and depression/dementia.
Jacopo Annese, director of the University of California at San Diego's Brain Observatory, said:
"However ghoulish it may appear to the majority of the public, the work that is conducted postmortem is essential to validate this hypothesis, because the important clues are at the cellular-level, and we can't see these with MRI, but we can with our microscopes.
Searching for the link between traumatic injury and more subtle and insidious effects like depression, suicide and dementia has been particularly crucial in the world of sports, where unprecedented body mass and acceleration create the scenario for severe trauma if there is a collision."
Junior's sad story sounds remarkably similar to Dave Duerson's, another ex-football player. Dave committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the chest specifically so his brain could be studied afterwards.
"What happened to Junior Seau is terribly sad. The least us scientists can do is to match his dedication to his sport and his community with our own dedication to research, finding the reasons for such tragedy, so that it does not have to happen again."
The average life expectancy of a retired football player is 58. That's crazy compared to the average of a normal American man at 75.
We really hope they can find a link between head injuries and depression. Then the NFL will have to take even more precautions when it comes to player injuries.
[Image via AP Images.]