Tiaina Baul "Junior" Seau, Jr., (January 19, 1969 – May 2, 2012) was an American football linebacker. A ten-time All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowl selection, Seau was a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.
He played college football at the University of Southern California and was the progenitor of the "NFL-USC linebacker". He was drafted fifth overall by the San Diego Chargers during the 1990 NFL Draft, later played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, and retired from pro football in 2010.
Seau, who was found dead in his Oceanside, California, home on May 2, 2012, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, is only the latest among several suicides among football players.
Had Seau attempted suicide before this incident? Seau drove his white Cadillac SUV off a coastal cliff at Carlsbad, California hours after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, on Monday morning, October 18, 2010.
An emergency crew found the 12-time Pro Bowler on the beach below the cliff and he was transported to a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.Seau, who spent the bulk of his 20-season NFL career with the Chargers, was the lone occupant of the car.
Police said there was no evidence that alcohol was a factor in the crash.
The crash followed Seau's arrest late on Sunday evening on charges he assaulted his 25-year-old girlfriend.He was booked into the San Diego County Jail in Vista early Monday morning and posted bail after 3 a.m. PT and was released. His SUV went over the cliff afterward. Seau said he was going to meet his assistant, Hoffman, for coffee at about 9 a.m. PT, when his car slid off the road near the corner of the 101 highway and Palomar Airport Road. Through his attorney, he said the accident was because of the rain San Diego has been experiencing the past couple days, not any intentional action on his part. Seau claimed he fell asleep at the wheel.
It will be noted that NFL player Kendrick L. McKinley had killed himself on Monday, September 20, 2010, exactly a month before Seau's possible attempted suicide.
The role of concussions, which have been linked to suicides, is being called into question in the NFL. But, of course, we must not overlook the behavior contagion and copycats in what is occurring here. Erratic mood shifts and suicidal ideation appear to be directly related to the injuries to the brain. There is also a definite reason that Seau shoot himself in the chest. He was leaving a message that his brain, remaining intact, should be tested.
Ray Easterling (September 3, 1949 – April 19, 2012) was an American football safety in the National Football League. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 1972 and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the ninth round of the 1972 NFL Draft.
In 2011, along with several other NFL players, including two-time Superbowl champion Jim McMahon, Easterling filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia, against the NFL over its handling of concussion-related injuries. Unlike a similar suit filed in Los Angeles a month earlier, this suit is the first to seek class-action status and potentially include many other players. Attorney Larry Coben, representing the plaintiffs, stated, "The big issue, for us, is they were told for decades to lead with their heads. The NFL would never admit that there's any correlation (to later health problems)."
Easterling died on April 19, 2012, at the age of 62. His death was ruled a suicide. His wife of 36 years Mary Ann Easterling said she will fight to continue the lawsuit despite her husband's death, and will urge the league to establish a fund for players like her husband who suffered traumatic brain injuries from their playing days.
On Monday January 16, 2012, Current died by suicide by shooting himself in the head with a 20 gauge shotgun at the scenic outlook at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge near Dallas, Oregon. Current was accused of sexually assaulting three victims, two girls and one boy all 14 or younger, at least five times between 2004 and 2010 in Marion County, Oregon. He allegedly used pornography, such as videos and photos, to elicit sex from the children.
On Tuesday January 17, 2012, Current was set to enter a plea on the charges. He faced a minimum of six years and three months for each of the five sex-abuse charges, a total of more than 30 years without parole, and no chance at reduced time. The Silverton Police Department had been looking into Current since June 17 and were investigating the possibility of other victims. Tara Lawrence, the attorney for the vicitms, indicated that she would be pursuing justice through the civil courts since Current's suicide did not allow the victims to get their day in court. "Our hope is that with Current's death, any additional victims may feel empowered to break their silence and speak out about their own abuse," Lawrence said.
Duerson was found dead at his Sunny Isles Beach, Florida home on February 17, 2011. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner reported that Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He sent a text message to his family saying he wanted his brain to be used for research at the Boston University School of Medicine, which is conducting research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by playing pro football. He left behind three sons and a daughter from his marriage to ex-wife Alicia Duerson. On May 2, 2011 researcher neurologists at Boston University confirmed that he suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions.
McKinley was found dead on September 20, 2010, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. His death was reported as a suicide by local media, and later confirmed by members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's office.
A 131-page report was released by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department on December 1, 2010, concluding the investigation into McKinley's death. It stated that depression over debt, injury and his post-playing career were the main factors for his suicide. The report stated that McKinley had a gambling problem and was deep in debt.
In 2006, Dronett began to exhibit paranoia, confusion, fear, and rage. According to his family, Dronett's behavior changed radically. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2007. Its removal did not alleviate Dronett's symptoms.
Dronett confronted his wife with a gun on January 21, 2009. As she ran for safety, he turned the gun on himself. His death was ruled a suicide by the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's office.
After his death, Dronett's brain was tested at Boston University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Scientists determined that Dronett suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. According to the co-director of the Center, Dr. Robert Stern, linemen are estimated to hit their heads about 1,000 times in each season they play. While those hits may not result in concussions, the repetitive lesser brain injuries are likely associated with the disease.
Waters ended his life by suicide shortly after 1:00 a.m. on November 20, 2006, according to the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office, dying of a gunshot to the head. He was at his home inTampa, Florida where he was found by his girlfriend. No suicide note was found.
Shortly after Waters' death, former Harvard defensive tackle and WWE wrestler Christopher Nowinski, whose wrestling career was ended by post-concussion syndrome and has since written a book about the dangers of concussions in contact sports, approached Waters' family and asked permission to have his brain tissue examined. After receiving permission, Nowinski had samples of Waters' brain tissue sent to neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu at the University of Pittsburgh. Omalu believed, having examined the tissue, that Waters sustained brain damage from playing football: he went on to state that this led to Waters' depression.
Omalu determined that Waters' brain tissue had degenerated into that of an 85-year-old man with similar characteristics to those of early-stage Alzheimer's victims. Omalu said he believed that the damage was caused and/or hastened by the numerous concussions Waters sustained playing football. Additionally, Omalu said that Waters would have been fully incapacitated within ten years.
The NFL declined to comment on Waters' case specifically. A member of the league's mild traumatic brain injury committee, Dr. Andrew Tucker, said that the NFL was beginning a study of retired players in 2006 to examine the more general issue of football concussions and subsequent depression.
He died in 2005 from drinking antifreeze. Doctors studied his brain later and believe that brain damage from his football career contributed to his depression and later suicide.
To benefit his nieces and nephews, Kelley sold his Heisman Trophy at an auction in December 1999 for $328,110 to the owner of The Stadium Museum, Restaurant & Bar in Garrison, New York, where it now resides. His health was visibly failing by then after having suffered a minor stroke and having open-heart surgery, and on June 27, 2000, Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Hightstown, ruled a suicide by the police. He was 85 when he died. He was survived by his fourth wife and 18 nieces and nephews.
Stonebreaker died by suicide on March 28, 1995 by subjecting himself to carbon monoxide poisoning from a car exhaust.
According to witness, Alm and his best friend, Sean P. Lynch, had dinner at a Houston-area steakhouse on December 13, 1993. At 2:45 a.m. Central Standard Time the following day, Alm’s Cadillac lost control heading south on Intrastate 610 southbound at the 59 north exit ramp and Lynch was thrown out of the car through the passenger window to his death. Alm had been speeding and lost control of his 1993 Cadillac Eldorado on a curved exit ramp. After the crash Alm ran across the ramp and looked down an embankment towards the Southwest Freeway, discovering that his boyhood friend had been thrown to his death 30 feet below. Apparently distraught by his best friend’s death, Alm took out a pistol grip shotgun, fired two shots into the air and then shot himself in the head.
Wise was born in Greenbrae, California. He died by suicide at his home in Davis in 1992.
His troubles with the law began in 1985 when he pleaded guilty to setting three fires in Mount Rainer National Park in Paradise Washington. He was ordered to pay $1,000 dollars to the park to cover the cost of fighting the fires.
In 1986, he was jailed on charges of assaulting his wife and stealing his mother's life savings of $64,000 dollars. In 1987, he was given a suspended four-year prison term for stealing. The judge also ordered Bethea to serve two years on probation while repaying the money.
In the final incident, on April 24, 1987, police were called by an unidentified source who said the former football player had robbed two convenience stores. Bethea, 30, was later found in a friend's backyard with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his right temple and a .38-caliber automatic pistol near his body. He was taken to Hampton General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:08 a.m. The gun used in the shooting and the two robberies was believed to be a weapon that was reported stolen from a parked vehicle in the city.