The family of former NFL great Junior Seau has agreed to allow experts to study his brain, following the linebacker’s death earlier this week.
“The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn’t want to make any emotional decisions,” San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn
Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times. “And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward.”
Police in Oceanside, Calif., where Seau was living since retiring from the NFL, concluded on Thursday that his death was a suicide.
Investigators had said on Wednesday that Seau died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest inside his bedroom. Seau’s body was discovered by his girlfriend, according to a 911 tape released by police after they announced the cause of death.
Seau’s girlfriend dialed 911 and said: “My God, my boyfriend shot himself! Oh my God!”
The Associated Press reported that the call lasted eight minutes.
“I just came home from the gym,” she said, “and he’s in our spare bedroom, and he shot himself, and it looks like he shot himself in the chest.”
Seau played 20 years in the NFL in one of the league’s toughest positions. Some have speculated that hits to the head over his career may have played a role in the suicide. But family members have said they never suspected anything was wrong.
It’s still unclear where Seau’s brain will be sent.
Seau spent the majority of his career in San Diego. He was drafted by the Chargers in the first round of the 1990 draft, and shined for the organization until he left for Miami in 2002.
He ended his career in 2009 as a member of the New England Patriots.
Over his 20-year career, Seau developed an impressive resume that included 12-straight Pro Bowl appearances (1991-2002) and six First-Team All-Pro selections (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000.)