The recent suicide of NFL legend Junior Seau was tragic and unexpected. Shortly after his girlfriend went to the gym, one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history committed suicide. No one saw it coming; his friends and teammates, some of whom saw Seau just days prior, could not believe that a man of such high spirits could take his own life.
The unexpected suicide sparked a nationwide discussion about the connection between brain injuries and mental health. Seau enjoyed a lengthy 20-year career as a linebacker, and during that time he took a lot of hard hits. Some speculate that Seau chose the manner of his death (a gunshot to the chest) so that scientists could study how repeated trauma affected his brain. Seau’s family is considering donating his brain to science.
The incident has reminded some of Dave Duerson, a Chicago Bears safety who killed himself in a similar manner. In his suicide note, Duerson requested that his brain go to the Boston University School of Medicine to study. Researchers found that head trauma may have played a role in his suicide. Repeated head trauma can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Studies have linked CTE to cases of depression. Seau did not leave a suicide note.
There is ample proof of the connection between traumatic brain injuries and depression, which can ultimately result in suicide. If you believe that you are suffering from depression caused by a traumatic brain injury, the best thing you can do is talk to someone. Too often, people who suffer from depression suffer alone. Finding someone to talk to, as well as medication and therapy, just might save your life.
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