Did Lifestyle — Not Concussion — Lead To Death Of Junior Seau?

By: Mike Stone

Football is a rough game. Football is a dangerous game, but is football a deadly game? In his book “The War on Football: Saving America’s Game,” Daniel J. Flynn writes that he believes the country is overreacting to the lawsuits against the NFL by some of its former players.

To back up his claim that there’s a war on football, Flynn says the amount of young people participating in football dropped nationwide by 6 percent last year. In fact Flynn says, “school board members in several states, including Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, want to ban high school football.”

Flynn acknowledges that concussions and injuries do occur, but said he has a hard time buying into the connect-the-dots mentality of going from football to concussion to suicide. According to Flynn, the suicide rate of former Major League Baseball players is higher than the NFL.

Seau’s survivors have a wrongful death case pending after the 43-year-old linebacker died May 2, 2012, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His survivors allege that throughout his career he sustained violent hits that caused traumatic brain injury, depression and ultimately his death. An autopsy revealed he had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of death.

But Flynn does not think the suicide deaths of Seau and Andre Waters were related to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a side effect of concussion injury, saying, “They are lifestyle related; Jr.Seau was out drinking five or six nights a week. I think that’s independent of CTE.”

The bottom line I took away from the interview is that football is not for everyone, but parents should not be afraid to let their children play football. Yes it is dangerous, but so are gymnastics and cheerleading and I don’t see anyone trying to ban them.

Dan Flynn

More from a) Mike Stone

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