More evidence: Football is killing some of its players

No surprise, perhaps.

ESPN/ABC reports that football star Junior Seau’s brain had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression.

Seau shot himself in the heart last May.

The cause of the CTE? Football.

More than 4,000 former players are suing the NFL in the federal court, alleging the league ignored and denied the link between football and brain damage, even after CTE was discovered in former players. The Seau family said it has not yet decided whether to join the lawsuits.

Over the past five years, under pressure from Congress, dissenting researchers and, more recently, the lawsuits, the NFL disbanded a controversial committee on concussions that was established in 1994 under former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The league made several rule changes and overhauled its policies to focus on head trauma and long-term cognitive problems.

Asked if she believed the NFL was slow to address the issue, Gina Seau said: “Too slow for us, yeah.”

The story adds more evidence to the belief that some sports — football and hockey, primarily — are leading to premature death of its stars.

It also forces us to consider Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s observation (in Mother Jones) about how current players view this sort of reality:

CK: It’s more kind of gallows humor than anything else. You know, we get compensated very well because what we do is dangerous. It’s less so as a punter, but for running backs and linebackers shit’s on the line–they’re killing their bodies in order to make their money. We recognize that, but what are you going to do? That’s your job.

  • Kevin Watterson

    I’m not a parent, but if I ever am I’ll have a hard time giving my kid the go ahead to play football.

  • Dimitri

    I am a parent, and it’s an easy call: no football, no hockey. Made much easier by being able to show our 7 y/o footage of devastating hits that are perfectly legal. He very quickly understood.

  • Charlie

    Have a 10 year old nephew who plays hockey and has already had one concussion in a game, if he were my kid it would have been his last day on the ice.