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Junior Seau

Latest In String of NFL Suicides

... Concussions Blamed

5/2/2012 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0502_junior_ray_dave
Junior Seau
is the latest of several former NFL players to commit suicide -- and all the deaths might be linked ... through brain-related injuries sustained during the players' football careers.

Most recently, 62-year-old former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Easterling (center) shot himself last month in his Virginia home. His wife claims the former safety developed symptoms of dementia after his football career.

Easterling filed a federal lawsuit in Philly against the NFL in 2011 over its handling of concussion-related football injuries -- claiming the league intentionally concealed links between the injuries and the game.

Dozens and dozens of similar concussion-related lawsuits have also been filed against the NFL -- but the league insists the allegations are without merit.

50-year-old former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson (right) was found dead in his Florida home last year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. 

Before his death, he texted his family asking for his brain to be used for research (hence why he shot himself in the chest). Months later, researcher neurologists at Boston University confirmed Duerson had suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions.

It's possible Junior Seau shot himself in the chest for the same reason.

Terrell Owens had TWO near-death encounters involving pills -- most recently on October 6th, when his assistant called 911 claiming the NFL star had OD'd. T.O. nearly died back in 2006 too, after downing 36 Vicodins.

As we reported, Junior Seau drove his truck off a California cliff back in 2010 following a domestic violence arrest. It's unclear if it was a suicide attempt.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
65 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

james    

Shame on TMZ for even putting a fool like Terrell Owens in the same breath as Junior Seau. This man never put himself out there except to show how much he loved the game of football.Owens has always been a clown and was a disgrace to the NFL.
RIP Junior Seau, and thanks for all the memories you gave us on the field. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

867 days ago
17.

Bagheera    

Thousands of players have played in the NFL. Far south of 50 have committed suicide (or their deaths were ruled suicide). Now, I am not saying that football did not contribute to their deaths, but I have to question how much it contributed to it.

I do approve of the studies into concussions. But I am not sure if they should be so willing to blame concussions on everything. The only reason anyone should sue the NFL is if they can prove that concussions would cause their loved ones to kill themselves and the NFL officials knew it. However, since you can prove that as well as one could prove penis size being the cause of death, it should not happen.

867 days ago
18.

StevenB    

According to Pro Football Talk dot com - there are currently over 1200 former players suing the league over their concussion-related injuries/illnesses (or what they believe were caused by the concussions). And of course, the most rabid, bloodthirsty fans insist that every single one of them is just out for a quick buck -- like any lawsuit against a company that big would ever get settled in less than a decade - hardly 'quick' money. There probably are some bandwagon jumpers, but not 1200+ of them.

867 days ago
19.

piratesrule8    

Is it not just possible that players who have devoted their entire lives to a sport they love are left feeling empty and their lives feel without much meaning when they retire ?

It could easily lead to depression and when guns are so easy to get in America it's not suprising that a lot of depressed people shoot themselves. It's a lot easier to pull a trigger than throw yourself off a bridge or hang yourself.

867 days ago
20.

Shelley    

HELLO - do you see the connection between the brain injuries with sports figures and those who also are receiving brain injuries from the wars that we are involved in! There have been SEVERAL suicides relating to brain injuries from those who have served in the war, but do you hear in on the news....NO My heart aches for the Seau family and my heart also aches for all of the military families that have lost loved ones to brain injuries. Let's bring awareness to EVERYONE that suffers from this!!!

867 days ago
21.

Bronte1068    

Never presume to know someone else's mental state or stability. You have no idea what kind of pain a person is experiencing. Mental illness is an illness, the same as heart disease is an illness. If you have any ounce of compassion in your heart then hope that he is finally out of pain and in peace.

867 days ago
22.

the artist formerly known as hand turkey    

You can't just look at sports players who commit suicide and conclude concussions. You would have to do a large study that includes all people with single or multiple concussions and compare the rates of suicide to those who suicides with no known history of concussion.

That would be very difficult. Especially since people can get concussions and not know it.

867 days ago
23.

Kelly    

Cowards one and all!

867 days ago
24.

2muchinfo    

ask the current draft class if they have any concerns about concussions might ruin their lives in a few years and see if they choose to avoid the NFL all together and go on with fall back careers. I didn't think so.

867 days ago
25.

TheRaj    

I don't want to be disrespectful to the deceased, and I'm not a psychologist, but I have to ask. Isn't it just a slight possibility that perhaps some popular, famous, wealthy, athletes have difficulty adjusting to what the rest of us refer to as "reality" when retirement is forced upon them and their greatest skill and identity (youth and physical fitness) is taken from them?

867 days ago
26.

Jen    

wonder how many of our servicemen we lose due to their profession and the hazards of that profession? Where are the stories about them? I know, They arent as important as our beloved football players.
That said, He was a great player and I loved watchin him play. Prayers and thoughts with his family.

867 days ago
27.

nof    

It's an ability to deal with The-Real-World:


Following professional and/or collegiate sports.


Went through it myself.


Needed professional help.


Junior knew he needed it - but walking-in's tough.

867 days ago
28.

nof    

Inability to deal with the-real-world.


No help transitioning back.


Tried doing it on his own.


This concussion-theory's ridiculous.

867 days ago
29.

Brooke    

So sad. As soon as I saw the middle photo, I thought, "Wow, that looks a LOT like Ray Easterling." He went to my church growing up. My youngest sister's name is a tribute to my mom's friendship with his wife. So very, very sad!

867 days ago
30.

en Todo Momento!!    

great. now all the rotten players can take over. can i think of a few...? let me see..

867 days ago
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