What the hell is happening to ex-NFL players? In the last year we’ve had a rash of deaths in former NFL players, mainly defensive players and mainly suicides. Former Charger linebacker Junior Seau was found dead in his home this morning, a self inflicted gunshot wound to his chest is the likely cause of death.
But it’s not players depressed about punishing their bodies for a career that went largely overlooked. The names attached to these suicides are massive. Former Chicago Bears safety and member of the 1985 Super Bowl team Dave Duerson was the first giant name to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest to preserve his brain for testing.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Andre Waters has also claimed his life in recent years and Atlanta Falcons defensive back Ray Easterling claimed his life after struggling with dementia.
But the most mammoth name to add his name to the list of players so mentality far gone that they kill themselves is former San Diego Charger linebacker and 12 time Pro Bowler Junior Seau.
Seau had an illustrious 20 year NFL career that saw him play mainly for the Chargers, bringing them to the Super Bowl in 1994 and earning 12 Pro Bowl honors.
“Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family.”
-Statement released by the San Diego Chargers
But in recent years Seau began to decline. He made headlines when he crashed his SVU off a cliff, claiming he fell asleep at the wheel. There were no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.
This isn’t a coincidence. Seau played defense. He shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for study and he’s dead.
You have to ask yourself, how messed up are these guys that the best option is to load a shotgun, aim it at your chest, take your last breath and blow our chest out your back? If you reject the correlation between defensive players, head injuries and sudden and willing deaths then you need to stop watching football and go away.
This is an epidemic and as football fans we can’t just sit by and ignore it. This isn’t sport, these are men with families that gave their bodies and ultimately their lives to entertain us. There needs to be more public questions asked because the players we grew up watching an idolizing like so many people idolize the players today are dying in epic numbers.
One suicide stemming from the effects of head trauma in the NFL is too many.
Who’s to say that in 20 year we won’t hear the Derrick Brooks has been found dead, or John Lynch? Is that what it’s going to take for people to press for questions in this matter or we will continue to idly sit by and call it “a risk that comes with the territory.”
No job in the world should one of the risks of the job be so severely damaging your brain that you think eating a shotgun is a good option. The heroes we grew up as children with are deteriorating to the point where the latter is their only option to both raise awareness about the issue and to ease their own pain.
We all know this is a violent game, but the violence doesn’t end when you hang up the cleats. Clearly as Dave Duerson, Andre Waters, Ray Easterling, and now Junior Seau have demonstrated, the hardest part about playing football begins when you hang it up. And the sadness about leaving the game they love is the least of their worries. I don’t know how to end this other then to be as simply blunt as I can.
This needs to stop. Something needs to be done.