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REPORT: Junior Seau Had CTE

2013 January 10
by Paul Anderson

In a not-so-surprising fashion, the National Institutes of Health and ESPN have reported that the late Junior Seau’s brain showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Seau’s brain was examined at the National Institutes of Health.  The official diagnosis was a “multi-focal tauopathy consistent with a diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”

In a statement released by the NIH, several neuropathologists were invited to examine Seau’s brain. The pathologists found “abnormal, small clusters called neurofibrillary tangles of protein known as tau within multiple regions of Seau’s brain.”

Seau’s family told ESPN that they “found solace in the CTE diagnosis because it helped explain some of Seau’s uncharacteristic behavior.”

When asked whether the NFL was slow to embrace the link between football and later-life cognitive decline, Seau’s ex-wife said: “Too slow for us, yeah.”

Seau’s son said the diagnosis “makes me realize he is not invincible.” He then asked rhetorically, “Is it worth it? I’m not sure. It is not worth it to me to not have a dad.”

According to Mark Fainaru-Wada, the family is evaluating whether to join the concussion lawsuits.

This long-awaited report puts to bed some of the misconceived notions that Seau did not suffer from CTE. Earlier this summer, a misleading report was made by the Los Angeles Times that sloppily implied Seau did not have CTE. The report even led one executive from the NFLPA to exclaim, “This is why we don’t jump to conclusions.”

In any event, the world now knows that Seau — like so many other former players that have engaged in years of battle on the gridiron — was suffering from CTE.

We can only hope that this discovery will bring the medical community one step closer to diagnosing CTE in living players before it is too late.

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