Junior Seau, the legendary linebacker from the San Diego Chargers, passed away earlier this week from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. Seau is the 8th member of the 1994 Super Bowl Chargers team to pass away.
Seau’s death was sudden, tragic, and unexpected. And given the history of the 94 Chargers team, his death is strangely eerie.
Eight members of the Chargers team have passed away since the team reached the Super Bowl in 1994.
David Griggs was killed in a car accident in 1995. Eighteen months later Rodney Culver died in a plane crash. Doug Miller died in 1998 after being struck by lightning twice. Curtis Whitley died of a drug overdose that same year and Chris Mims died of an enlarged heart. Last year, Lew Bush and Shawn Lee both passed away after suffering heart attacks.
Former Chargers’ running back Natrone Means told the San Diego Union-Tribune last year after Lee’s passing:
“Not again. It’s crazy, just crazy, that we’ve had so many guys who have fallen. I can’t make any sense of it. I’ve given up trying. You just hope you quit getting these random messages out of nowhere that another teammate has passed away.”
The 1994 San Diego Charger’s team had a 53 player roster. According to Marjorie Rosenberg, a statistical professor at the University of Wisconsin, the chances of five people would die at a young age from a 53-person pool is less than 1%.
Rosenberg said after Mims death in 2008:
“I couldn’t imagine one team having five guys from one calendar season just die unless it’s a team crash or something. I bet you couldn’t find a small business with 53 people and have five people die.”
Junior Seau’s death has caused many people to start asking familiar questions about the effects of concussions. Last year, former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson killed himself. Duerson left his brain to science. The Boston University Center for Traumatic Encephalopathy is hoping to have a look at Seau’s brain as well.