Junior Seau's Death
What We Can Learn From It
The sheer coincidence of the death of Junior Seau, on the same day that the NFL announced suspensions for the Saints bounty gate scandal.
The NFL is trying to put the player's health first. But they still have big issues, once the games are over.
Now it's foolish to speculate that concussions, or other health issues led to Seau's death. That's not right, and I'll leave that to others until the facts come out.
But sadly in his death, Junior Seau's star power might provide the push to develop real change, and programs to help those transition into the next phase of life.
There are two things we can learn in all this. One, the NFL still needs to improve the alarming rate of former players dying far below the national average of life. Now 8 Chargers from the 1994 team have died very young. Not all due to circumstances they could control, but like other recent tragedies...some could have been prevented.
And two, Seau played with emotion, with passion, and seemed to go all out, all the time.
Seau was also known to have depression issues post-playing career. In October of 2010, he was involved in a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend, and survived a 100-foot plunge off a cliff in his SUV.
And maybe it was the first cry, for help. Because sadly, when the lights go down, and the cheers fade, some players have a hard time with the NFL after life.
Just ask former Packers OT Ken Ruettgers. It's why he started GamesOver.org and tries to help players when they have to make the transition to the "real world." Ken talks openly about the depression, the tough transition, and the difficulties he had when he quit after Super Bowl XXXI.
And he's an extremely bright guy, with a lot going for him.
Marcelus Wiley's interview on ESPN was telling. Seau didn't want his teammates to know he was hurt, so he had doctors help him privately so he always looked at full strength.
But Wiley said he never wanted help, never asked for help...and cried as he said, "We were there for you. All you had to do is ask for help."
It's time to end the pain, after the games come to a close...and to help the transition, when the fame, the money, and the applause all fades.
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