Reblog: Sports discourse in the aftermath of Junior Seau’s suicide

This is an awesome piece on the death of Junior Seau and what it means for the current sports concussion dialogue. Nice work!

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

3 thoughts on “Reblog: Sports discourse in the aftermath of Junior Seau’s suicide”

  1. What I also find amazing about this entire story is the forethought that Junior had prior to his suicide. He knew something was amiss. He was aware of his ‘brain malfunction’ either subconciously or extremely consously. That’s why the suicide was committed in such a way as to preserve the organ so obviously consuming his everyday life. Then to have arrangements for medical study of that same organ for research purposes. My God! what a truly unselfish act that comes from what many friend and family survivors of those that have committed suicide have called the ultimate selfish act.

    How unfortunate that this was what he was driven to. We may never know exactly how he was feeling…what kind of internal journeys his brain took him on. Now THAT is a story I would like to know more about.

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  2. Yes, it is amazing, isn’t it. I am really glad that his family allowed the research to continue, because last I’d heard, they needed to check with their elders to see if it was okay to move forward. I’m glad they got “clearance” to do so.

    I think a lot of us can guess what his internal life was like — the slow disintegration of memory and ability to process and parse… the insomnia and sensitivities… the mood swings and personality changes, till you just don’t recognize yourself anymore… I think it took a monumental amount of self-control and caring, for him to hide it so well, because that’s what he believed his community needed. Up until his death, I think that’s what they thought they needed, too.

    Personally, I’d like to see more real support go to families of pro football players, to help them navigate the changes. I happen to believe that a lot of the changes are exacerbated by stress and conflict, and there are alternatives to going down the long dark road alone. I have read about situations where people whose brains were all but decimated by dementia (under the microscope after death), showed absolutely NO signs whatsoever of cognitive degeneration or personality change. Nobody would ever have guessed that their brains were as bad-off as they were.

    Those are the kinds of people I’d like to see studied — and learned from. Not just the ones who suffer in silence and die alone with a hole in their heart.

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  3. I agree with you…to a point. Only problem with the thought process is, if there are no outward signals of dementia…and one wouldn’t know their brain was disintegrating because they are asymptomatic…then how would we know they need to be studied and/or helped?

    It’s too bad that MRIs are so horribly expensive. They are such a fantastic diagnostic tool. In a world where everything would be perfect, people could get an MRI every ‘x’ number of years or so as they begin to age (similar to what women go through with their mammograms) and the doctors and insurance companies would be happy to do it because it would be preventative medicine.

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