Junior Seau retired from the NFL in 2010 after approximately 20 years in the sport. He had been drafted in 1990. Just two years after he retired, the linebacker was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. His family may allow Seau's brain to be examined. Although there were reports indicating that his family had agreed to allow the research, it is now being reported that the family is reconsidering. Unfortunately, his suicide is far from unique among former NFL players. Statistics seem to indicate that former NFL players are approximately six times more likely to commit suicide. Here is a look at five other players who also committed suicide.
A fellow NFL player drafted in 1990, Jeff Alm, was just three years into his career with the Houston Oilers, when he committed suicide. In the early hours of December 15, 1993, Alm and his close friend Sean Lynch were traveling in Alm's Cadillac when Alm lost control and crashed. Lynch was thrown from the vehicle and was instantly killed when he fell down an embankment. Alm, who was not seriously injured in the crash, shot himself in the head after seeing his friend dead.
Just 15 months later, there was a former NFL player that committed suicide. Steve Stonebreaker, likely best known for his time with the New Orleans Saints, killed himself in 1995. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning by turning on his car and sitting near the exhaust pipe in his locked garage. His friends and family did not know why the former player did it.
In 2006, Terry Long committed suicide. His career with the Pittsburgh Steelers had ended after he had attempted to kill himself in the 1980s. Though Long officially died of ethylene glycol poisoning, from drinking antifreeze, he also suffered from chronic brain trauma. The brain trauma, likely attributable to his years with the Steelers, was considered a factor.
Kendrick McKinley was a player for the Denver Broncos for the 2009-2010 season. During the season, he was forced onto the injury list, and was unable to play. Reportedly, he suffered from a gambling addiction and was in despair over the injury. In September of 2010, the player was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
Dave Duerson, a former player for multiple NFL teams, killed himself with a gunshot wound to the chest in early 2011. He directed his family to ensure that his brain was examined. Due to multiple concussions, an examination of his brain revealed chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This can lead to depression and suicide. His family has now filed a lawsuit against the NFL for the former player's death.
Though Kristin Watt is not a fan of all sports, she does follow the news on most sports religiously. Major news events in sport do tend to ripple out to others and she makes sure that she never misses the big stories.