Archived Story

R.I.P. #55

Published 5:59am Saturday, May 5, 2012

There’s no doubt about saying this: Junior Seau was one of the all-time greats to play football as I was growing up.

I didn’t always follow the NFL, but I knew who the middle linebacker for the San Diego Chargers was.

He had success at USC before becoming a first round draft pick for the Chargers. He played for San Diego for 13 seasons before moving on to play for Miami.

Even at such an old age for NFL standards, Seau made a comeback and performed at a high level for the New England Patriots for two seasons.

He never got a ring, but I will not be surprised when he is selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, but there has already been much speculation that years of head trauma in football may have ultimately been the cause of his apparent suicide.

There have been several players who have died at a young age or committed suicide since playing pro football, and the evidence is increasingly showing that repeated concussions are to blame.

This has become a hot topic in sports lately, as modern medicine is still discovering the symptoms and repercussions of post-concussion syndrome.

Many players have repeated incidents with this and might never report the injury to team doctors.

Hubris and the will to play may be causing players to shrug off debilitating injuries in order to stay on the field.

Obviously having a concussion is a serious problem, and the NFL and other pro sports have taken a stance against players suffering in silence.

In the 18 years since I first picked up a baseball bat understanding of the affects of head trauma on the body has come leaps and bounds.

Most head coaches at any level have some kind of emergency medical training, and concussion detection is increasingly added to that training.

The hope is that any coach in any sport, along with any medical officials on site, will prevent players from continuing after a concussion, which puts their life at greater risk.

The NFL especially has come out with new player safety rules that guard against head injuries, but the new rules have garnered tepid reactions among fans and players alike.

This decision is understandable given what PCS can do to a player, especially when head trauma goes undetected.

More and more former players are dying young over what happened years ago, and pro leagues are attempting to limit the number of such deaths by upgrading player safety.

It is a noble effort indeed, but it will take time to make everyone accept changes to well-established sports.


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