Seau's family to allow his brain to be studied


Seau's family to allow his brain to be studied

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."

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”