Researchers have concluded that former NFL star Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May, suffered from a debilitating brain disease attributed to his hard-hitting 20-year playing career, ESPN and ABC News reported Thursday.
Seau's family donated his brain to a team of neuroscientists at the National Institutes for Health after the legendary linebacker shot himself in the chest.
From ABC News:
A team of independent researchers who did not know they were studying Seau's brain all concluded he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease typically caused by multiple hits to the head.
"What was found in Junior Seau's brain was cellular changes consistent with CTE," said Dr. Russell Lonser, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University, who led the study of Seau's brain while he was at NIH.
Patients with CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death, display symptoms "such as impulsivity, forgetfulness, depression, [and] sometimes suicidal ideation," Lonser said.