It’s been nearly a month since Junior Seau’s death, and within a day of his suicide the discussion regarding concussions and the increasingly tragic post-football life they cause was already going strong. There’s no definitive answer explaining why Seau left us far too soon, but the discussion is a healthy one nonetheless.
That conversation has evolved now, with the future of the game questioned due to health and safety risks. Past and present players–and their parents, most notably Tom Brady’s dad–have publicly weighed the risks and rewards of playing football. Some say the game has become far too dangerous, while others say that danger is accepted and inherent, but the team and character-building aspects of football are difficult to find elsewhere.
Now another possible cause for Seau’s mental struggles in his final days and years has surfaced, and while it’s connected to head trauma, it’s a far more common problem. Seau had insomnia, a sleeping disorder that had lingered for years. Friends told USA Today that he often took Ambien, a common sleep-disorder drug, and suicidal thoughts have been reported as a side-effect.
What’s even more troubling for Seau specifically is that information about the drug strongly advises against taking it if you’re not capable of getting a full eight-hour sleep. That was especially problematic for Seau, and the lede of the USA Today story describes his odd behavior during sleepless nights.
Hours after Seau’s suicide, his 11-year-old son, Hunter, told his mother, Seau’s ex-wife Gina, what he’d seen while staying with his father a month earlier. Hunter got up about 3 a.m. to let out Rock, a pit bull-mastiff mix. His father’s bedroom light was on, so Hunter peeked in, as Gina relates his tale.
There was his dad, sitting up on his bed, wide awake, staring at the TV. But the TV wasn’t on. He wasn’t reading. He wasn’t writing. He was just staring.
“Dad, are you OK?” Hunter asked.
“Yes, son,” Seau said. “I’m fine.”
Exactly how long Seau had been dealing with his sleeping problems is unclear, but former teammate Mark Walczak saw him taking sleeping pills in 2005.
And now the links part of the links post…
- When we abandon all narratives and look at the concept of winning games through simple yet important examples from recent history, we quickly understand why assigning the tag of “winner” to a quarterback is foolish at best, and a blatant lie at worst. There are far too many elements that have to fall into exactly the right place to win a football game to assign the credit to just one person. [Greg Cosell]
- What if the NFL had a draft lottery? That would really, really suck, that’s what. [Chad Rueter]
- Darrelle Revis is “getting ready for the season.” That’s terrific, Darrelle, everyone is. But will you continue to do that during training camp? (*silence*) [Newark Star-Ledger]
- Michael Vick will try to convince Jason Babin that running with mammoth, angry animals on the unfamiliar cobblestone streets of Spain isn’t a good career move. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
- And Rex Ryan will try to convince Nick Mangold to take a few days off and an excused absence from training camp to watch his sister compete in the Olympics. [PFT]
- Nothing beats a hearty game of beer pong, a traditional way to speed up the inebriation process that gets my vote as the best tailgating game. But corn hole is giving it a good challenge. [Hogs Haven]
- Jack Del Rio’s son committed to Oklahoma State. He’s a quarterback, so in accordance with the Del Rio quarterback philosophy he’ll be pushed into a starting role too soon and have his confidence shattered. [Eye On College Football]
- Do the Broncos have the best tight ends in the AFC West? [Mile High Report]
- “Players who’ve lived a dream life on the field suddenly discover how nightmarish the world can be away from it” [Jeffri Chadia on life after football]
- A former Rams employee is suing the team because he claims that age discrimination was common under former head coach Steve Spagnuolo. [Turf Show Times]
- Osi Umenyiora “dismissed” his agent. [Around The League]