Thursday, May 3, 2012

NFL Legend Junior Seau: Apparent Suicide, Possible Brain Injury, Stirring Tragedy

When football great Junior Seau was found dead at his home yesterday, from a gunshot wound to the chest, his family and the police and reporters and sportswriters everywhere made the logical leap from concussion to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to depression to suicide. All you have to say is "Duerson." Select stories here, here, and here, along with our previous coverage.

But just last Friday, our favorite science radio show aired a thought-provoking segment about how very much we still don't know about athletes and concussion. University of Michigan sports neurologist Jeffrey S. Kutcher, MD, cautioned listeners to follow the clinical evidence, which does not explain how repeated traumatic brain injury (TBI) might cause problems with brain function later in life. The discussion was inspired by a new stage play, Headstrong, running at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City through May 13. How we wish we could have attended last night's performance, with a scientific postdiscussion moderated by Ivan Oransky of Reuters Health and Retraction Watch. Video posted here when available.

[Image: Purdue University/Thomas Talavage]

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