NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — NFL great Junior Seau was suffering from a degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide last year, according to a study released Thursday.
Seau’s brain showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE. The analysis, done at the request of Seau’s family, was performed in a blind study by the National Institutes of Health.
He’s the latest in growing list of football players who had CTE. The NFL is also facing a lawsuit from thousands of former players affected by concussions.
“I’m just telling you, this is not good for football — at all,” former pro quarterback Boomer Esiason said on his WFAN radio show Thursday, alongside co-host Craig Carton. “You read some of the quotes from Tyler Seau … about who (Junior) was, how he was acting, his whole personality traits and all that other stuff — it’s not good.”
He added: “It’s actually — it’s really bad.”
Tyler Seau said his father “emotionally detached himself and would kind of ‘go away’ for a little bit. … And then the depression and things like that. It started to progressively get worse.”
If anything, Esiason said findings like Thursday’s news on Seau and CTE will open the eyes of the league’s current players, who should now “know what they’re getting themselves into.”
“I could be suffering from CTE,” said Esiason. “I don’t know. I have no idea. But I will tell you this: I played in the NFL for 14 years, I got paid a ton of money. I did not have to do that. My family has benefited from my success on the field, and therefore my success off the field.”
His success eventually gave life to the Boomer Esiason Foundation, a leading organization in the fight against cystic fibrosis. Boomer’s son, Gunnar Esiason, suffers from the disease.
“I can’t sit here and look back at that and say (it) was the worst time of my life, because it was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said Esiason, “that afforded me a wonderful lifestyle that I’m able to actually do a lot of things with.”
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