Seau had chronic traumatic encephalopathy prior to suicide
According to today's (March 28) New York Times, a government agency prepared a safety fact sheet on degenerative brain disease in retired National Football League (NFL) players. Several people were invited to comment on the fact sheet. "One response stood out," says the Times. "A doctor on the NFL's head, neck, and spine committee asked that a mention of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, be removed." After former Chargers star Junior Seau committed suicide last year, it was determined that he had CTE. He was suffering from severe psychological problems before he took his own life. The doctor, who was not named, wanted the reference to CTE to be deleted because it was "not fully understood," and was not on the death certificates of the retired players and thus lacked "epidemiological validity." But CTE can only be detected in autopsies performed after the death certificate is prepared. The doctor suggested that "traumatic brain injury" be used instead, according to the Times. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which wrote the fact sheet, rejected the doctor's request.
In lawsuits, "several thousand retired players have accused the NFL of deliberately playing down the dangers of head injuries," noted the Times.