Did Seau Suffer From CTE?

Junior Seau's life ended with a gunshot wound to the chest. But was Seau suffering from CTE as many have hypothesized, or was it something more that led the popular NFL defender to take his own life? Len Pasquarelli takes a closer look.

There is no denying the tragic nature of the death of linebacker Junior Seau on Wednesday afternoon, but the media, as it has done so far, needs to continue to practice the responsibility demonstrated to date, and to keep tapping the brakes on any rush to judgment about the potential role of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on his suicide.
 
Chances are that head trauma, and the ancillary ramifications of it, played some element in Seau's decision to end his life at age 43. But the results of potential brain trauma -- even with the presence of CTE expert and forensic pathologist Bennett Omalu in San Diego for the Thursday autopsy -- may not be confirmed for months.
 
In the meantime, several sources close to Seau told The Sports Xchange over the past two days that the 20-year veteran linebacker had long ridden a financial roller coaster, that investment decisions frequently impacted him, and that late in his career, he was often delinquent in commission payments to representatives and in arrears on other fiscal responsibilities.
 
It would be irresponsible to conclude what weight those carried on any individual. And there's no reason for conjecture on whether such things prompted Seau's suicide, the same way it would be to suggest with any degree of certainty that 20 seasons of violent concussions did. Of course, given recent events and the enhanced knowledge with which pathologists now operate, it will also not be surprising if the head trauma played a part in Seau's death.
 
Now that his family has opted to donate his brain for research, experts should be able to determine the answer.
 
But Seau had other ancillary concerns as a compelling if unwanted element to his post-NFL life, too, and, while the easy conclusion anymore is to blame CTE, everyone would do well to wait for the results.

More on Seau

Patriots Insider Top Stories