Junior Seau’s death has officially been ruled a suicide, according to the San Diego County medical examiner’s office, who performed an autopsy on the former NFL star Thursday.
The autopsy report states that Seau died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, but that further details would not be revealed until a full investigative report is finished, which could take 90 days to finish.
Officials also mentioned on Thursday that they are waiting on confirmation from the ex-football player’s family on a decision to donate his brain to an outside researcher for study.
According to his ex-wife Gina, Seau suffered from multiple concussions throughout his career, although she is not sure if the concussions contributed to his death.
Junior Seau was found in his home in Oceanside by his girlfriend, unconscious with a bullet wound in his chest. Lifesaving efforts failed to revive the former linebacker, who left no suicide note. Police are not sure who the gun, which was found near him, belonged to.
Former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL for failure to properly prevent concussions in the high-contact sport.
Duerson died last year, also of a gunshot wound to the chest. Former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling also had a lawsuit against the NFL for brain damage suffered while playing football.
Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, who has analyzed the brains of other athletes, including Duerson, has refused to comment on whether they are the outside researchers who may acquire Junior Seau’s brain for study. A statement released by the center reads:
“It is our policy to not discuss any completed, ongoing or potential research cases unless at the specific request of family members. Our primary goal is to learn more about the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma by conducting meaningful scientific research. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Seau’s family, his many friends and former teammates.”