The death of 20 year NFL veteran Junior Seau came as shock to the sports world and today it was revealed that his official cause of death has been ruled a suicide.
According to the San Diego County medical examiner's office, Seau, who was found unconscious at his Oceanside, CA home on Wednesday, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Seau’s family will allow researchers to study his brain for signs he was suffering from damage from concussions sustained during his NFL career.
According to San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell:
"The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn't want to make any emotional decisions. And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward."
The decision of who will study Seau's brain has not been made, Mitchell said, despite speculation researchers at Boston University are the most likely candidates to do so.
Dr. David A. Hovda, director of the Brain Research Center at UCLA, said the link between brain injuries and depression has been known for years:
"When it happens to a person that I feel pretty confident has been exposed to repeat concussions, my first thought was, did somebody do what they could to make sure this individual knew what his exposure was in terms of concussions? What the cost was going to be after he finished his career, and what he should look out for? Was the family notified? And did he get help if he needed it?"
The sports world has been reeling since the news broke of Seau’s passing on Wednesday.
Seau was found by his live-in girlfriend in their Oceanside home. He did not leave a suicide note.