On his Sunday night radio program, nationally syndicated talk show host and sports caster Mike North told his listeners he wasn’t surprised at all when he heard that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had committed suicide. ”Domestic problems with the girlfriend… driving his truck over a cliff and you’re surprised?” he asked.
North was referring to a stunning episode in October of 2010 in which Seau drove his truck over a hundred foot cliff in Carlsbad, California. Amazingly, Seau walked away from the event with only minor injuries. The incident took place just hours after Seau had been arrested on domestic assault charges after his girlfriend complained to police that Seau had attacked her following a verbal exchange. Regarding the driving incident, Seau claimed he fell asleep at the wheel prior to his truck going over the embankment. ”He said he fell asleep at the wheel, I’m not buying it,” North said in his radio show, clearly indicating that the driving incident was a failed suicide attempt.
North implied that no one should automatically make the assumption that Junior Seau committed suicide for the same reason that Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling did. Both Duerson and Easterling had been linked to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive and degenerative brain disorder that can be caused by repeated concussions. The disorder is incurable and inevitably leads to disorientation, dementia, impeded speech and other symptoms.
At the present time, it is not known if Seau was exhibiting signs of CTE. In fact, the only way to definitively diagnose CTE is to do a brain biopsy of a living person – which is extremely dangerous – or to examine the brain during an autopsy after the subject has passed away. With Junior Seau’s family now hedging on whether or not to donate his brain for scientific research, we may never know whether or not Junior Seau had CTE.