Monday, May 7, 2012
Another Player Gone: The Loss of Junior Seau
It’s another one of those where were you at when this thing happened situations. The other day, when I heard the news about the passing of Junior Seau I was at work. I saw the news on my Facebook page and quickly learned more about what had happened to him. Nothing is ever official but he was killed due to a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Dave Duerson, the former Chicago Bears safety from their Super Bowl winning season in 1985 suffered a similar fate. In his case, he left a note saying that he wanted his brain to be donated for study to find out what might have caused the issues that ultimately led to his death. Perhaps that is what Seau wanted to have done as well. Seau played in the NFL for 20 seasons with three different teams and even when he did manage to retire he didn’t appear that he was ready for retirement. He was still playing at a pretty high level and was still an important part of the team that he was playing for when he retired (the New England Patriots). He had a semi successful go of it following his NFL career and then it appeared as if he dropped off the face of the earth. I hadn’t heard anything about him for a while until his recent death. While there cannot be enough praise given for what Seau was able to do in the NFL for so long there has to be some worry as to the circumstances surrounding his death. With an abnormal number of players ending their lives possibly because of the effects of all of the damage they suffered to themselves during their football careers perhaps this is yet another wake up call. Now the question that begs to be asked is did Seau end his life as a result of his football career? It’s too early to tell whether or not all of the pounding that Seau took over the course of his career led him to take his own life but it does bring up a good point. Is all of the abuse that the typical NFL player takes over the lifetime of his career worth what they might get in the end? Is all the money that they get paid worth what could happen to them when the effects of concussions take their toll? Is it worth it to end up like Duerson or perhaps even Seau? The NFL does need to do something to help better protect their players from repeated cases of head trauma. Perhaps working on the helmet design and making sure that players are getting the maximum protection from that all important piece of equipment that they can get is a good idea. Commissioner Roger Goodell has already made some strides in protecting players from vicious hits and that has helped to at least cut down on some of the serious injuries that players have suffered. But can the damage be prevented even if the NFL works on getting newer and safer helmets along with what they have done to prevent the defenseless hits in the league? Something has to be done in order to prevent head injuries from becoming problems later on in life for football players. But what can be done? It’s hard to stop the hitting in the NFL as it’s a big part of the game. Fans pay to see the big hits and players often deliver. Perhaps there is a way to make it safer to play the game but until that happens there will be more Seaus and Duersons to deal with.
Posted by Bryan at 5/07/2012