"I pray to God, 'Take me, take me, leave my son. But it's too late. I don't understand, I don't understand....I'm shocked....I appreciate everybody showing your love to my son. Junior never did anything bad. I say to you: thank you and you guys for showing your love"
Junior Seau's mother, Luisa, was speaking to reporters and fans after the future hall of fame linebacker was found dead inside his Oceanside, CA home. Seau died apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
As Luisa Seau cried uncontrollably at the microphones, I could not help but think how this death was so tragic on so many levels. I am not saying Junior's death is more tragic than any other death, but his death -- after a stellar 20 year career in the NFL, a loving family, money, and by all accounts, a great guy -- forces us to re-examine how the game of football is played.
No question: The NFL is a dangerous sport.
The NFL has clearly supplanted Major League Baseball as America's favorite pastime sport. There is no single greater American game than the Super Bowl. But at what cost? The players are bigger and faster. The hits are more lethal. Football is a violent, albeit, artistic sport. The physical and cognitive damages are more permanent.
I know it is premature to link Seau's death/suicide to football before a cranial autopsy is conducted, but the signs are there: