The recent suicide death of former Miami Dolphins player Junior Seau shocked the football world. In the aftermath of the original breaking news, many people suspected that the suicide may be linked to brain injuries the former NFL superstar may have sustained during his professional football career. Seau played for several teams, and appeared in 12 Pro Bowls.
Brain injuries among professional athletes have received growing attention in recent years. Seau is not the first former pro to commit suicide. Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling also took their own lives over the course of the last year, and many say the suicides may be linked to successive concussions that led to serious traumatic brain injuries.
Junior Seau’s death was tragic – hopefully it can bring more awareness to better understanding TBI (traumatic brain injury) and helping others with TBI obtain the help and services they need.
The NFL is receiving criticism for how it has historically handled concussions among players. More than 1,200 former NFL football players have filed a class-action personal injury lawsuit against the league on a claim that the organization has been negligent in failing to protect players from the debilitating effects of brain injuries.
Brain injuries do not only affect professional athletes. Miami personal injury lawyers know that brain injuries can occur in a wide variety of situations. At least 1.7 million Americans suffer brain injury each year. Car accidents remain the leading cause according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other accidents, including such situations as a slip-and-fall accident at the local supermarket, a bump to the head in day to day activities or many other situations can involve head trauma.
Any type of head trauma can lead to a brain injury. That means any bump to the head can result in some level of brain injury, from concussions, to more severe forms of TBI. Concussions can have complications, and as the medical profession continues to learn more about traumatic brain injury, parents should note that children can be susceptible to issues from head trauma.
Medical professionals say that most brain injury victims recover fully. However, some people can experience symptoms for days, weeks, months and longer after a blow to the head.
NBC Miami, Experts Connect Brain Injuries Suffered During Football to Suicide, Diana Gonzalez, May 3, 2012
Journal Tribune, Seau’s death shows NFL must address head injuries, May 8, 2012