Sports injuries

Junior Seau's brain disease puts NFL gladiator mentality into perspective

Junior Seau was the ultimate gladiatorHopefully the results of Junior Seau's Brain disease study will help us to understand the NFL gladiator mentality and make the game of football safer.

The NFL gladiator mentality

In ancient Rome gladiators performed armed combat entertaining audiences in grand outdoor stadiums. Crowds cheered as they watched gladiators compete in violent confrontations with other gladiators.  The gladiators value as entertainers was celebrated throughout Roman culture.

Much like gladiators football players entertain fans in grand outdoor stadiums for the honor of their team and their cities. Much like gladiators part of the game that excites the fans are violent hits on individual players.  Football stars are celebrated and their value as entertainers permeates throughout American pop culture.

Junior Seau was the ultimate gladiator 

Junior Seau was a linebacker in the National Football League known for his passionate playing style. Seau played college football at the University of Southern California. The San Diego Chargers took Seau with the fifth overall pick of the 1990 NFL Draft.

Seau was celebrated as a star for 13 seasons with the San Diego Chargers.  Seau also spent three years with the Miami Dolphins, and four years the New England Patriots. Seau was a 12 time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.

In 2012 at the age of 43, Seau committed suicide with a gun shot wound to the chest. It was generally believed that Seau spared his head so it could be studied.

Studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of chronic brain damage caused from many blows to head during his NFL career.

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