The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that "Junior Seau's family has decided to allow researchers to study his brain for evidence of damage as the result of concussions".
The newspaper quoted San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell, who spoke with the family. Mitchell said no decision has been made as to who will do the study, though the Boston University School of Medicine -- which has been conducting research into football-related head trauma and performed an examination of former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who requested in his suicide note that his brain be given to BU -- has publicly asked for the right to examine Seau.
The former Patriots, Chargers and Dolphins linebacker died Wednesday of a gunshot wound to the chest that police have ruled was self-inflicted. Speculation began almost immediately that brain trauma caused by repeated concussions sparked Seau's suicide, at age 43.
In the days since his death, Seau's friends and family have said he suffered multiple concussions during his 20-year career but always attempted to hide them from his team's medical staffs.
Seau left no suicide note. But before Duerson fired a bullet into his chest last year, he left word with his family to have his brain examined for damage he believed was caused by repeated blows to the head from his hell-bent style on the football field. Two weeks ago, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling -- who was part of a lawsuit against the National Football League over the league's handling of concussion-related injuries -- also committed suicide, at age 62. Easterling's wife said he suffered from depression and insomnia and lost the ability to focus and organize his thoughts . . . all of which, she believed, was the result of head trauma from his football days.
Former player Kyle Turley has no doubt that Seau wanted to make sure his brain could be studied, which is why he -- like Duerson -- shot himself in the chest.
"I don't care what anybody says," Turley told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. "I know why he did it."