Report: Seau had degenerative brain disease

Junior Seau played for Miami Dolphins in 2003-05

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:39:46 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 10 2013 03:18:35 PM EST
Junior Seau

Medical analysis of Junior Seau's brain showed abnormalities associated with degenerative brain disease and findings were similar to autopsies of people exposed to "repetitive head injury."

The report from ABC News on Tuesday wasn't unexpected. Seau played 20 NFL seasons, retired in 2009 and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his California home in May.

Seau was regarded as one of the best linebackers in NFL history and is in the Hall of Fame.

CTE is only diagnosed my examination of brain tissue under a microscope after death.

Junior Seau: A career in pictures

Published On: May 02 2012 04:17:15 PM EDT   Updated On: Jan 10 2013 12:03:55 PM EST

As new details about his death are released, look back at the 20-year career of the late NFL great Junior Seau.

Junior Seau
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Jeff Topping/Reuters

NFL great Junior Seau was found dead last May of a gunshot wound in his California home, and a new report suggests he had the brain disease CTE when he committed suicide. Here's a look back at his 20-year career.

The National Institutes of Health in Maryland conducted the study, analyzing three unidentified brains. One of them was Seau's, and his family was recently informed of the results. Boston University reported in December that 43 players, including nine college football players, studied were found to have suffered from CTE.

Gina Seau, the former wife of junior Seau, and his 23-year-old son, Tyler, discussed the NIH findings on "Good Morning America" and said researchers at NIH cited "a lot of head-to-head collisions over the course of playing in the NFL. And that it gradually, you know, developed the deterioration of his brain and his ability to think logically."

Gina Seau, responding to a direct question about the NFL's slow response to head trauma and the correlated issues therein, said the league was "Too slow for us, yeah."

Two other former NFL players in recent years committed suicide and were later found to have CTE. Dave Duerson, a former defensive back of the Chicago Bears, and Ray Easterling -- also a defensive back -- committed suicide. Their families said both men suffered with dementia and depression.