According to a major sports site, one of Junior Seau‘s former teammates with the San Diego Chargers, Gary Plummer, has claimed that the All-Pro linebacker could have suffered as many as 1,500 concussions in his 19-year career.
Plummer told a California newspaper that:
In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar. They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter.As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don’t have five of these (Grade 1 effects) each game, you were inactive the next game.
Junior played for 20 years.
That’s five concussions a game, easily.
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.
Now, obviously, the definition of a concussion is rather loose here, and not every hit would lead to a concussion.
Only when Seau’s brain is examined by medical professionals when the time is right will we truly know the impact of the concussions he suffered as a professional athlete.
It will be interesting also to see long-term whether football players suffer injuries at a greater rate, or of a more damaging nature, than their counterparts in other professional sports.