When Junior Seau committed suicide three years ago, it was not from depression, despair or financial ruin but from a debilitating brain disease caused by traumatic brain injury during 20 years of hard hits on the football field. The disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was responsible for behavior that included mood swings, forgetfulness, insomnia and detachment. It is being studied by the National Institutes at Health and Boston University which said that 34 pro players and nine college players suffered from the disease. CTE is just one of the degenerative forms of dementia affecting an increasing number of patients, friends and family in the United States.
As Seau was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame last weekend, his 21-year-old daughter Sydney had a speech prepared to give -- a request he made before he died -- but was not allowed due to a NFL rule. The New York Times printed it on front page of the Sunday Sports section, and while it does not tell a lot about Seau's injured head, it does say a lot about his heart.
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