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Seau's family to permit his brain to be studied for CTE

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Patspsycho, May 4, 2012.

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  1. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Report: Seau’s family to allow researchers to study his brain - Daily Dose: A Boston Globe blog with health news, advice, and information.

    I believe that this may be a watershed moment in how CTE will be viewed, and how the league subsequently deals with it, because Seau was such a popular player and figure.

    I am fairly certain they will find solid evidence of the presence of CTE in Seau's brain, and that this will once and for all lead to serious legislation, and the regulation of concussions suffered during games. If that turns out to be Seau's final legacy to the game, that would only be so fitting.
  2. Bella*chick

    Bella*chick Addicted to the light

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    Agreed. I just read the story that a former teammate believes Seau might have suffered up to 1,500 concussions in his whole career. That's staggering to me.

    I just don't know what to think anymore. It's a great sport but there is a serious, serious problem if this is the result.
  3. ctpatsfan77

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    I don't mean this the wrong way, but if he had 1,500 concussions, I wonder how he'd even be able to walk, let alone play football.

    On the one hand, it would explain why he called everybody "Buddy, buddy" (he was notorious for not being able to remember names). On the other hand, as more than one person pointed out yesterday, we don't know what was going on with him, and it's quite possible that this is not solely the result of concussions.
  4. TyronePoole

    TyronePoole Banned

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    We still don't know a lot about this stuff. A lot of these microconcussions can occur without the person even knowing it at the time (I'd hazard to guess that there's probably some degree of trauma on the brain on almost every collision at the NFL level) so maybe the "concussion" umbrella word is inadequate in describing the variety in which the brain can get hurt. He might have also began rapidly degenerating at some point (maybe recently) and may have been completely non functional at a later age.

    It's got to be extremely scary for guys like Bruschi and Ray Lewis not knowing whether that's in their future or not or what they can even do about it.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  5. Fencer

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    I would think the 1,500 figure is rather questionable under common definitions. But 1,500 plays on which his brain took some kind of lasting damage? Sadly, that's much more plausible.

    I agree strongly with your second paragraph.
  6. Bella*chick

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    Yes, i think that's what the guys was saying....they are different grades of concussion and in his opinion the lowest grade was par for the course. Plus, seau never let anyone know he was injured, so he would downplay or hide what he did get.
  7. Bravo777

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    I forget the name of the player, but about a year ago a former football player killed himself by shooting himself in the chest. He had his brain donated for science. Seau also shot himself in the chest. I'm wondering, did he intend his brain to be studied after he died, or is this just a coincidence?
  8. Fencer

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    Duerson.

    I'm sure it isn't coincidence.

    Either it's exactly what it seems to be in terms of brain deterioration, or else it's depression leading him to falsely believe his mind was seriously scrambled.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  9. MrNathanDrake

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    Linebackers probably get at least 1 mild concussion per game

    *shrug*

    They know what they're signing up for.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  10. Bella*chick

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    They do? I don't think so. Maybe they're starting to understand now. But it's too late, far too late for players who played in the 80s and 90s.
  11. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Rookie

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    We'll probably NEVER know the truth. The demons Seau lived with are not all that uncommon in society. Suicide is ALL to prevalent in our culture to put into such neat characteristics as "He did this because.....?".

    Don't get me wrong, I have no doubt they will find evidence of significant CTE in his brain....... It's reportedly noted in like 80% of the autopsy's done on former players (read that somewhere) no matter how they died. You may be able to say...... "Seau had CTE and it MAY have contributed to his depression, which MAY be linked to his suicide" or "He shot himself in the chest MOST LIKELY because he wanted his brain to be studied"...... But anyone saying that you'll be able to make that definitive leap is not being accurate.

    The Duerson situation was just a bit different, but in one very critical way. HE LEFT A NOTE that specifically said "Study my brain, I think there is something wrong with me and that is why I am killing myself. I'm shooting myself in the chest so you can study my brain". In other words, he shed a bit of light into his "pre-death" mindset which cements the link. My understanding is that there was no such note in Seau's case (which is not all that uncommon either). Suicide notes can be really important in the overall investigation, not just for what they say, but because they offer an insight into the mindset of the person doing it.

    In my regular gig, I come into contact with suicide investigations 2-3 times per week, and have for over 20 years. There are FAR too many suicides in society, for far too many reason to draw such narrow conclusions based on so many unknown facts. Shooting yourself in the chest is NOT all that uncommon, particularly in the over 40 crowd, because not only do you "preserve the brain", but you also "preserve the face", and in a culture such as ours, open caskets are very much a part of our mourning process. Older, more mature folks, will just as often shoot themselves in the chest for this reason as well. Younger folks generally don't think that far out and go for the far more efficient, and messy, shot to the head (which often causes much more visible damage).

    Again, don't get me wrong..... I think that there will be plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the theory that his CTE (if found) may have played a role in his death, but absent some empirical evidence like a suicide note from him drawing the link himself, or perhaps past conversations with family to that effect. The link will be pretty tenuous and circumstantial.

    I do think this will become a major issue facing the NFL going forward, and the more and more incidents like this that occur, the evidence, albeit circumstantial will begin to draw the link a little more distinctly.

    *** UPDATE*** Just googled Samoan funeral traditions, and open caskets and pre-burial viewing of the body are an important part of the culture. The media might be reading a bit too much into this particular aspect because of the Duerson case. It'll be harder to make the definitive from an investigative perspective.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  12. fxkane

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    This is an unheard way of committing suicide, so there has to be a connection of person and purpose.

    Men who gun suicide, do it to the brain. But even more commonly--for males--is the one car collision, which is something Seau also seems to have tried or half tried.

    And it should be noted that just a couple concussions can destroy someone's life... especially in the sense of that person's experiencing oneself as either partly insane or ultimately fully so. This is what is called an invisible disability---and it all the more depressing and deadly because of this.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  13. Patriot_in_NY

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    Not even remotely close to accurate....... Many men do (particularly young) go for the head, but it's not nearly as definitive as you say. Older males often pick a means that will preserve the remains. If they use a gun, it moves closer to 15-25% of the cases (if I had to guess) that will not shoot to the head. Far to many to call Rare.

    Also, suicide by CAR is rarely ever able to be proven in the absence of a note. I'm sure it happens much more often then it is ruled by ME/Coroners, but it is exceedingly hard to prove in the absence of other evidence (note, or conversations with freinds). Far to many factors that go into a car crash. This is the exact reason that people can only SUSPECT that Seau had a previous attempt. He said he fell asleep a the wheel, and that is a VERY common unprovable reason for an accident.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  14. Boltjolt

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    LOL, he did that all the time. Even when he was young. I do agree though, 1,500 concussions? I dont think so. 15 maybe. He had 4 that we know of while a Charger. Im sure he had more and his ex-Wife said he had concussions and alluding to the fact he had plenty.
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  15. lurker1965

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    We need a control group. If football players have 10-15 concussions it seems like a lot. But if, say, accountants have 8-13 then the number looks different.
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hey I'm all for smacking the accountant in the head when the numbers are disappointing ;) but how is an accountant getting 8-13 concussions?
  17. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Being smacked in the head repeatedly by you Andy. :cool:
  18. JoeSixPat

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    Some take the view that a concussion is only brain trauma/injury that results in immediate symptoms. Some take the view that a concussion is any trauma that results in injury, regardless of whether there are immediate symptoms.

    The 1,500 number begins to be plausible when you go back to Pop Warner, JV, varsity, summer football camps, college practices, for years of college games 20 years of two a days in camp and of course 20 years of actual NFL games.

    When you consider the entirety of a 30 year amateur and pro career and know those conscussions happen in practices as well as games, the prospect of 50 minor, mild or major concussions per season (1,500 total) doesn't seem that far fetched

    Some have even estimated 4-5 minor or mild concussions per game for certain position players, without even factoring in practices or high school and college careers.

    Yes... Whether it really is CTE is another question, though it's very plausible. What seems clear is that Seau himself seemed to believe there was some likelihood of CTE. He may also have seen other signs he tried to keep underwraps, which might include personality changes, aberrant behaviors (possibly his out of character domestic violence charge from a few years back?) and even dementia or other symptoms that, if it is CTE, Seau knew could be expected to get worse.

    That prospect alone would likely be enough to send most people into a downward spin of clinical depression, though ultimately we can't say that CTE was the cause of death. If Seau had asked for help he likely would still be here today.

    We've got to change a culture that equates depression with weakness before that will change.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  19. AndyJohnson

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  20. JoeSixPat

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    I hope whatever they decide they are at peace with it.

    Although he didn't leave a note, I don't think his choice to shoot himself in the chest was random or a coincidence and one might asssert that in doing so he made clear his belief that brain injury may have been a factor in his depression and may have been indicating that he wished his brain to be studied like Duerson.

    Duerson's family appreciated some closure in the knowledge that there was a physical medical condition that played a factor in his behavior leading up to and including his death. Seau's family needs to weigh that against whatever reasons they'd have for refusing an autopsy of the brain.

    Hopefully they're getting good counseling and advice on this decision and make the one that's right for them.
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