In the wake of Junior Seau’s tragic suicide, one difficult question came to the forefront. Because there is continuing research on exactly what effect head injuries like sports concussions, and especially those head injuries in football, may have on an athlete’s mental state, researchers were eager to look into the brain of the former San Diego Chargers player. However, the decision would be up to Seau’s family, who were understandably waffling over the request.

Despite the possibility that Seau shot himself in the chest and not the head in order to have his brain studied, he did not leave any note featuring such a request. Because of this, it was difficult to determine whether or not giving Seau’s brain to science was the right call for the former football player’s legacy. San Diego Charger’s chaplain Shawn Mitchell recently told the L.A. Times the family wanted to think on the choice for a while and not make an “emotional decision.”

Now, the family has come out saying they will donate Seau’s brain, although they have not decided which prestigious institution will get the honors of studying it. It’s possible the Boston University School of Medicine will study the brain, simply because former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson requested his brain get studied there when he, too, died from a gunshot suicide. In Duerson’s case, the Boston School of medicine was able to connect the safety’s depression to various concussions he had suffered throughout his career.

I’m sure the brave and bold decision the Seau family made was a tough one, but it was a decision that might go a long way to help this type of research and athletes in the future.

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