SAN DIEGO (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — Junior Seau’s former teammate claims that the All-Pro linebacker suffered over 1,500 concussions during his NFL career.
Gary Plummer, who was Seau’s teammate in San Diego for four seasons, told the San Jose Mercury News that playing football for two decades took a toll on his friend.
“Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions,” Plummer told the Mercury News. “I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.”
Plummer added that Seau was dealing with personal issues for over a year.
“Junior obviously had been facing demons for at least 18 months,” Plummer told the Mercury News. “That’s no longer speculation. People can take pills, run their car off the road, and that’s a cry for help. He was crying out for help. Yet he was too proud to ask for it.”
Seau’s family is now revisiting its decision to donate the former NFL linebacker’s brain for research into football-related injuries.
Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said Sunday that the family, which is of Samoan descent, is consulting with a group of elders on a number of matters.
He said it doesn’t necessarily mean that the family won’t donate Seau’s brain for research.
“They really want to do everything right,” Mitchell said.
The medical examiner’s office said Friday it was awaiting a decision by the family on whether to turn over Seau’s brain to unidentified outside researchers for study.
The 43-year-old Seau committed suicide Wednesday at his home in suburban Oceanside. He played parts of 20 seasons in the NFL, including 13 with the Chargers.
At least two groups of researchers have been studying athletes’ brains for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Officials from the Boston University Center for the Study of CTE expressed their condolences to Seau’s family but said they do not comment on individual cases.
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