It’s happened again. On December 1, Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs shot his girlfriend, the mother of his child, and then publicly turned the gun on himself . In May of 2012, Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In February, 2011, Dave Duerson who formerly played with both the Chicago Bears and New York Giants took his own life.
Football stars rank high in the American pantheon. Why would these men, who seemingly had lived the American Dream, commit such acts?
Jovan Belcher Tragedy
Jovan Belcher played football for the Kansas City Chiefs, and USA Today reports that he was actually a member of the campus initiative, “Male Athletes Agains Violence” at the University of Maine. On December 1, however, he killed Kasandra Perkins (the mother of his baby) and then went on to kill himself in front of his coach and general manager.
Link to Concussions and Brain Injury?
The Belcher tragedy raises questions about football and brain injury. After the Duerson suicide, the football player’s brain was examined by neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee, who found Duerson’s brain had three large holes. McKee was quoted as saying, “I would assume that with this amount of damage the person was very cognitively impaired.”
As early as 2010, the New York Times reported that head injuries and concussions were dangerous. In that article, a 2007 study was cited that found that of the NFL players who had suffered a concussion, “20.2 percent said they had been found to have depression.” Additionally, the New York Times article stated that Alzheimer’s disease is 19 times more common in football players.
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