Student Well-Being

Junior Seau’s Suicide Raises Safety Concerns About Youth Football

By Bryan Toporek — May 09, 2012 1 min read
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When Junior Seau, the former San Diego Chargers star, was found dead in his home last Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest, speculation immediately began: Was there a connection between his suicide and football?

Seau’s family initially decided to donate his brain to science Thursday evening, but have since reconsidered, according to ABC News, choosing instead to consult Samoan elders before making a final decision.

Until scientists examine Seau’s brain for traces of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (assuming the Seau family goes ahead with the donation), there’ll be no way to conclusively tie Seau’s death to his football career. While Seau was never listed on an NFL injury report with a concussion, his wife told the Associated Press that Seau did experience concussions during his career, with one former teammate estimating Seau could have suffered as many as 1,500 concussions.

Seau’s untimely death has prompted NFL players to speaking out about safety concerns over the past week, particularly regarding their children playing youth football.

Appearing on Dan Patrick’s radio show last Thursday, retired quarterback Kurt Warner, who won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams, said that “there’s no question in [his] mind” that he doesn’t want his sons following in his footsteps with a professional football career. While praising NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the steps he’s taken to ensure player safety, Warner said the thought of his two sons playing pro football “scares” him.

Amani Toomer, a former wide receiver for the New York Giants, quickly criticized Warner on

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.