American footballer killed himself

Updated: May 4, 2012

An autopsy has revealed that former San Francisco Chargers linebacker Junior Seau shot himself to death (in the chest).

The 43 year-old was found unconscious by his girlfriend at the home they shared in Oceanside, California on Wednesday with a revolver nearby, police have revealed.

“At this time, the Medical Examiner’s Office is awaiting the family’s decision regarding study of the brain for repetitive injury by researchers outside of the office,” the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The Seau family’s pastor, Shawn Mitchell, a former chaplain for the Chargers, said Seau likely suffered concussions during his long football career.

“He would go in headfirst,” Mitchell said of Seau. He said a link between his career and death was something to consider because Seau played so long “at such a violent position as linebacker.”

Over 1,500 former players have sued the National Football League (NFL) because of head traumas sustained throughout their playing careers and the difficulties they are now experiencing.  A further 100 players filed similar law suits on Thursday in federal court in Atlanta.

The league disputes the claims in the suits, which accuse it of concealing links between football and brain injuries.

Seau, who played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots after leaving the Chargers, retired from professional football after the 2009 season.

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