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Published: July 2, 2012
Junior Seau was just the latest. In the past three years, nearly a dozen retired professional athletes have committed suicide. Thousands more are now suing the NFL for doing too little to prevent head injuries, which can lead to emotional trauma and suicidal tendencies. When a former professional athlete takes his own life so young we are conditioned to think that head trauma after years of violent hits is the main culprit. And while the physiology of a damaged brain surely plays a role in many cases, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The social and psychological factors in the arc of an athlete’s life should not be overlooked. For a person who has been treated as a god-like figure for most of their life, re-entering society without the bright lights is a dark and difficult task.