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UPDATE: The family of Junior Seau will let researchers study the former NFL great's brain for signs of trauma, the San Diego Chargers announced Friday.
The announcement follows widespread speculation in the wake of his suicide by gunshot to the chest that the repeated blows to the head he suffered during his two decades in the NFL could have been a contributing factor.
CNN reports that the official word came from Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell who spoke with reporters while standing next to Seau's mother. "Him taking the shot to the chest makes sense that he would want his head examined," Mitchell said.
No word yet on which institution will do the honors, but the current front-runner appears to be Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, the research center that previously found that former NFL safety Dave Duerson suffered degenerative brain damage as a result of repeated hits to his head during his playing days.
Authorities officially ruled Seau's death a suicide on Thursday.
Wednesday, May 2: Former NFL great Junior Seau was found dead at his California home on Wednesday from a suspected suicide, according to multiple media outlets. He was 43.
The North County Times reports that police were called to the scene by Seau's girlfriend who found the former football star dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest. TMZ and other outlets also reporting that police on the scene are treating Seau's death as a suicide.
The fact that Seau appears to have chosen to shoot himself in the chest, as opposed to the head, is noteworthy because it mirrors the 2011 suicide of fellow NFL star Dave Duerson, who requested his brain be donated to science so researchers could use it to investigate the long-term health risks posed by the repeated blows to the head many football players receive during their careers.
Seau finished his professional playing career in 2009 with the New England Patriots. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1990 with the fifth pick of the NFL draft.
Seau is survived by three kids and an ex-wife.