September 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; The San Diego Chargers retired the number 55 worn by Junior Seau is displayed prior to the start of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
In an announcement made by the family of Junior Seau, it has been discovered that Seau suffered from CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
CTE is known to occur from repeated blows to the head. It carries with it symptoms such as dementia and depression.
Many people out there may act as though this comes as no surprise. Quite frankly, people had to find a way to justify such a terrible, horrible thing that happened on May the 2nd of last year.
As I write this, I am cautioning myself to be sure that I only speak on behalf of myself and my feelings. But I would not be surprised if my thoughts are shared by many of you.
Hearing the news today reopened a wound that had yet to truly close. A wound in which one tries wholeheartedly to avoid being selfish. Although I lost a hero and an idol, this man left behind a family. He left behind children.
All of the thoughts and justifications that rattle around in one’s mind. How in the world could such a man take his own life while leaving behind so many that loved him. So many people, such as myself, that had never even met him yet looked up to him for everything that he did on and off the field.
Seau’s legacy is one that was forged by both his playing days and his contributions to the city of San Diego while not playing the game he loved. The game that he needed. The game that perhaps cost him his life.
In looking back on that tragic day, there were so many questions that, at the time, had no solid answers. There were talks of money issues and personal problems after a rough divorce from his wife. Far be it from me to act like those things would not be reason enough to fall into such a dark place.
But it always felt like there was more. At least it did to me. I suppose I can’t really elaborate on why I felt that way.
Seau was fueled by the energy and the love that he provided the fans of the San Diego Chargers. He gave every last bit of himself to ensure that we all knew how much we meant to him. He left every bit of himself out on the field every gameday. He did so for his family, his team mates, the fans, and himself. His passion playing football was only rivaled by his desire to do great things off the field as well.
In closing, to think that I would not have known about Junior Seau had he not been in the NFL, is much more than bittersweet, in hindsight.
Had it not been for his gladiator-like playing in the NFL, the world would possibly still be blessed by the presence of everyone’s buddy.
Thanks a lot for reading.