American Football and Junior Seau Essay

Submitted By mikeconnelly
Words: 2180
Pages: 9

Social Problems Research Paper:
The NFL Concussion Issue

Junior Seau was nothing less than a remarkable human being in San Diego. Being from San Diego, we saw first hand how one individual could forever change a community. The San Diego Chargers President, Dean Spanos, describes Seau as “...An icon in our community. He transcended the game. He wasn’t just a football player, he was so much more.” The 5th of 6th children Seau was born in San Diego in 1969. Junior graduated from Oceanside High School in 1987 in Oceanside, CA, a suburb of North County, San Diego. He lettered in football, basketball, and track and field. Seau earned an athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Southern California. His senior season he recorded 19 sacks earning a unanimous first-team All-American selection. Seau was chosen by his hometown team, the San Diego Chargers, as 5th pick overall in the 1990 NFL draft. Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL, 12 of them in San Diego. In 1992, Seau was voted AFC and NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and would go on to the Pro-Bowl for the following 8 seasons. He was the NFL’s Linebacker of the Year in 1993, named to the All-Pro First Team 3 times, and in 2000 Seau was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team for the 1990s, as well as being named the NFL Alumni Associations Linebacker of the Year. His countless football accomplishments don’t hold a candle to the type of person Junior Seau was off the field. Oceanside doesn’t share the same “never-ending summer” attitude as the rest of San Diego. It’s a lower class community, stricken with unemployment, drug abuse, and gang violence. Seau sought to rehabilitate the community that had given him so much. As for his old high school, once Junior got his first paycheck, newer, nicer facilities started popping up. In 1992, Seau created the Junior Seau foundation whose objective is “to educate and empower young people through the support of child abuse prevention, drug and alcohol awareness, recreational opportunities, anti-juvenile delinquency efforts, and complimentary education programs.” Junior has countless honors and accolades outside of football, ranging from being named to the National Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame in 1999, to President George W. Bush awarding him the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2005. In 2010, things took a turn for the worst. In our hometown of Carlsbad, the town just south of Oceanside, Junior drove his car off a cliff after a dispute with his girlfriend. Seau claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, but everyone in the community felt a little uneasy. Sure enough, two years later, on May 2nd, 2012, Seau was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest. He left no suicide note, just a paper on which he had written down lyrics from his favorite country song, “Who I Ain’t.” The song was written by a close friend of Seau, and describes a man who regrets the person he has become. Seau chose to shot himself in the chest, a slower, more agonizing route than a quick shot to the kill shot to the head in hopes that his brain could be studied. It is believed that Seau had sustained serious brain damage during his football career through repeated head trauma. A study conducted by Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, research director of the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, states, “A study of 2,500 retired NFL players found that those who had at least three concussions during their careers had triple the risk of clinical depression as those who had no concussions.”
A 2009 report by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research concluded that former NFL players are 19 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other memory-related diseases than men between the ages of 30 and 50. Seau’s story, along with these alarming numbers, were enough to convince us to further research this topic. Using content analyses we focused on football culture,