Following the death of former National Football League (NFL) linebacker Junior Seau from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on May 2, 2012, the video above is an interview the Associated Press conducted with Miami neurosurgeon Walter Bradley. While he says that there is not a “clear link between repeated concussions and depression,” Bradley does say how the repeated blows to the head in football tears nerve fibers and accumulates over time. As a result, repeated concussions cause neurological problems and, over time, those problems can cause a person to become depressed. Despite technological advances made in the helmets designed to protect football players, Bradley notes that the helmet cannot prevent the brain from “rocking around in the skull.” He says how “maybe we need to rethink some of these games,” but recognizes that may be difficult considering the number of spectators and amount of money involved makes that easier said than done. “It’s a real conundrum for society, unfortunately,” Bradley says.
“Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily,” Gary Plummer, a former teammate of Seau’s, told the San Jose Mercury News. “How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions. I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.”
Plummer told the Mercury News that he’s talked to former teammates who have “struggled mightily” not just within a year of being out, but several years. “One guy felt he was wandering aimlessly,” Plummer told the Mercury News. “It needs to come to light that this was not an isolated incident.”
Indeed, just four days before Seau’s death, another former NFL player, Ray Easterling, took his own life after years of battling the effects of head injuries that later led to a diagnosis of dementia. “I didn’t feel like I was with the person that I married,” his wife Mary Ann told the New York Times.
These types of injuries and the headlines that NFL player deaths have garnered leads us to call attention to the depression that often results from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Repeated blows to the head or even just one significant jolt to the skull may result in a TBI and cause a victim to feel severely depressed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI every year, with falls and traffic accidents accounting for more than half of the causes of TBIs in the United States. On Friday, we will talk about some of the resources available to TBI victims and ways in which friends and family can help a TBI victim deal with depression.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers