Last week, the sports world was again shaken by the death of a beloved former NFL star. In another apparent suicide, Junior Seau shot himself in the chest. Our experienced brain injury attorneys cannot help but wonder whether this latest death is the result of the long-term effects of the many brain injuries Seau suffered during his long career.
Indeed, Seau’s death is simply the latest in a pattern of deaths and injuries. Most Chicago and Illinois residents will naturally draw parallels to last year’s death of former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, who also shot himself in the chest. But several other well-known players have also suffered from former brain injuries, including Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters and former Pittsburgh Steeler Terry Long.
Prior to his death, Seau’s conduct revealed that he may have been suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury. For example, in October of 2010, Seau fell asleep at the wheel, causing his car to fall 30 feet off a cliff. Shortly before the fall, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence (although he was never charged).
Seau’s death, along with the deaths and problems of other NFL stars, has focused attention on the long-term consequences of repetitive brain injury. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that even relatively minor injuries such as concussions can have serious consequences when repeated over time. These consequences many not emerge for years after the injuries, or even decades later.
These lifetime consequences can include depression, personality changes, erratic behavior, difficulty controlling emotions and impulses, memory problems, chronic pain, difficulty reasoning, difficulty multi-tasking, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (boxer’s dementia), Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and even Parkinson’s.
Our experienced brain injury attorneys hope that Seau’s tragic death will continue the focus on brain injuries and their effects, and lead to improved safety for athletes at all levels. In the meantime, if you have suffered repetitive brain injuries on the job – even if you are not an NFL star – talk to your doctor and to an attorney. These professionals can help you determine the risks you face and whether you are entitled to compensation.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.