A National Institutes of Health study has found that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide last May.
Orin Starn Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke Universityostarn@duke.edu http://culturalanthropology.duke.edu/people?Gurl=&Uil=1099&subpage=profile Starn, chair of Duke's cultural anthropology department, has taught courses on the anthropology of sports. He is the author of "The Passion of Tiger Woods," among other books. Quote: "The announcement this morning that Junior Seau had serious brain damage underscores the deadly risks of NFL football. Seau is one of a long list of former players to suffer from dementia, severe depression and other neurological disorders. He is the second former NFL star in the last two years to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest, so that researchers would be able to study his brain to show the traumatic brain injuries caused by blows to the head in the course of a football career. "And yet, Americans don't seem to care that NFL players put their lives at risk every Sunday. The NFL continues to be the most-watched programming on TV, and the playoffs are attracting huge interest. "The NFL has become America's favorite blood sport, a modern version of the ancient Roman coliseum where thousands gathered to cheer brutal gladiatorial combat."