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Violent legacy. Junior Seau, shown here in 2008, was known as a ferocious, physical tackler.

U.S. Football Star Had Brain Disease Linked to Concussions

David is a Deputy News Editor specializing in coverage of science policy, energy and the environment.

Researchers with the National Institutes of Health say that Junior Seau, a star defender in the U.S. National Football League (NFL), had a degenerative brain disease linked to athletes who suffer chronic head trauma associated with violent sports, according to The New York Times.

Seau, who killed himself last year, is the latest former NFL player now known to have had the disease, which is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In May 2011, researchers confirmed that Dave Duerson, another NFL defensive star who committed suicide, had CTE; it was also found in the brain of Andre Waters, a third former NFL defender who killed himself. Overall, researchers at Boston University have found CTE in all but one of the 19 brains of former NFL players they have studied, according to The New York Times.

Posted in Health