For San Diego, a Clean Autopsy Means More Questions Surround the Junior Seau Death

Fans who grew up watching Junior Seau play football would tell you the lightning bolt on his helmet signified his descent from Mt. Olympus, rather than the team for which he played. Seau’s larger life persona on the gridiron made him pop out of the TV and a tackle a running back for a loss right on the living room floor. Seau was a cross between Troy Polamalu and Ray Lewis – yeah, he was that scary.

It was his impact on the community of San Diego however, that made Seau the Legend he was. It’s also why the May 2012 suicide of San Diego’s favorite son, hit every San Diego Chargers fan like ton of bricks. The mythological being that was Junior Seau was gone, and worse, by his own hand. The Chargers lost an icon, and San Diego lost a member of the family.

With the recent news that Seau’s autopsy and toxicology report showed no indication of drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of death, questions abound. Some of these queries call in to question the very fabric of the game that endeared Seau to his fans. Is football a violent Game? Yes. Are there long term side effects from having an extended NFL career? Probably.

But would fans deify football players as they do, if the game were two-hand-touch? No.

Stadiums wouldn’t sell out, merchandise wouldn’t be moved, and Junior Seau would have just been Junior from Oceanside. For now Chargers supporters, Seau’s loved ones, and football fans everywhere, can only mourn and ask why?

Seau’s family has agreed to send some of his brain tissue to the National Institute of Health for more extensive testing. These tests hope to determine if long term trauma to Seau’s head contributed to any brain damage. The initial autopsy however, did not cite brain damage, or concussions, as contributory to the cause of death.

Though concussions among former NFL players have recently become a hot button issue, Seau’s suicide is much more than a trending topic to fans in San Diego. His passing is tragic and he is missed by his Community on a daily basis.

Todd Coshow is a Chargers Columnist for He can be reached via email at and follow Todd on twitter @TC_Coshow

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  • Lorraine

    So true “It was his impact on the community of San Diego however, that made Seau the Legend he was”. Maybe we can find a happy medium to keep the passion and thrill in the game and keep the players safe!

    • T.C. Coshow

      Safety, as it rightfully should, clearly comes first in today’s NFL. 95% of the rule changes that have taken place in the last 20 years, were made for the protection of the players. My fear however is that the pendulum will swing so far in the cautionary direction, that it will cause the game to suffer. The notion that the NFL should be held in any way accountable for long term brain injuries suffered by former players is ludicrous, or Ludacris if you’re from the ATL. It would be like trying to hold fire accountable for the emphysema firemen. Unfortunately there is a faction of NFL followers who are ready to light the torches as soon as the first inkling of “Fault” can be pinned on the League. The facts are as follows: 1. Football – from the very first full pad scrimmage in Pee Wee’s – Is a collision sport. 2. Collisions – when sustained by the human brain, over an extended period of time, with increasing degrees of severity – Can cause brain damage. 3. Football (A collision sport) is woven in to the fabric of American culture. It is the closest thing to waging war that a free man can do on a regular basis and not be considered insane. Americans will do and say things in the name of football that would never be acceptable in any other facet of normal life. To blame the League Americans bleed for every Sunday for the battle wounds of its’ icons, isn’t even remotely just.
      Thanks for reading.