UCLA faculty experts advisory: Death of Junior Seau and brain injuries among athletes
By UCLA Newsroom May 02, 2012 Category: Academics & Faculty
Former NFL great Junior Seau's apparent suicide today from a gunshot to the chest follows the suicide last year of former football player Dave Duerson, who also shot himself in the chest. Before his death, Duerson requested that his brain tissue be examined for the same damage found in other retired players — a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which has been linked to depression, dementia and, occasionally, suicide. Some have suggested Seau also may have been suffering from the disorder.
UCLA's Brain Injury Research Center, part of the department of neurology, has been instrumental in advising the NFL and the Pentagon on developing guidelines for treating athletes and soldiers who have suffered concussions. The center is also examining the effect of head injuries on student-athletes over the course of their college careers and beyond.
David Hovda is a professor of neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center.
Dr. Neil Martin is a professor and chair of the department of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Dr. Christopher C. Giza is an associate professor of neurosurgery and pediatric neurology and is vice chair of the California State Athletic Commission (available after 4:30 p.m. PST).
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