The former N.F.L. linebacker Junior Seau had a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma when he committed suicidelast spring, the National Institutes of Health said Thursday.
The findings were consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease widely connected to athletes who have absorbed frequent blows to the head, the N.I.H. said in a statement. Seau is the latest and most prominent player to be associated with the disease, which has bedeviled the sport in recent years as a proliferation of studies have exposed the possible long-term cognitive impact of head injuries sustained on the field.
“The type of findings seen in Mr. Seau’s brain have been recently reported in autopsies of individuals with exposure to repetitive head injury,” the N.I.H. said, “including professional and amateur athletes who played contact sports, individuals with multiple concussions, and veterans exposed to blast injury and other trauma.”
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