Speaking Point: Junior Seau, former NFL linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, is dead at the age of 43 of a fatal gunshot to his chest.
It is being suggested that Junior shot himself in the chest, so that in his own autopsy, his head could be examined for CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a trauma-induced disease common in people with frequent blows to the head.
He may have struggled with this illness or with his life after football, in general.
Whatever his reasoning for how he killed himself, it is another tragic ending to a man whose stellar career ended early in life, BUT his life didn’t need to end after his stellar career.
Junior Seau retired first in 2007, only to come back for the 2008 and 2009 seasons….He finally retired permanently in 2010.
Speaking Point: Retirement is so difficult for people who developed success in an identity that went on throughout their youth and into their young adulthood.
Speaking Point: Professional athletes begin playing their sport as young children and grow up making a living by playing that sport, all the while, living an identity as an athlete.
Speaking Point: First, you are a great player in high school...then, a prospect in college...and finally, a wealthy player in the “Pros.”
Speaking Point: And then, at a relatively young age, it is over...no purpose to wake up to...no identity to grab onto...no limelight to shine on you…nothing but the memories and the need to create something again…but what?
Speaking Point: There are so many ex-professional athletes that live adrift with plenty of money but little to get up for each day.
Speaking Point: We may never know why Junior Seau took his life, but it sure raises the question....What do you do when the cheering stops and they turn off the lights in the stadium?