Slowly details are coming out about what life was like for Junior Seau in the months leading up to his death. No one can specifically point out what made Seau take his life, so it wouldn’t be fair to speculate.
All we can do is gather the information from family and friends to try to get a better understanding about what he was going through.
Twenty years in the NFL, including countless collisions and undiagnosed concussions were often cited as explanations. (Earlier this month, Seau’s family was unsure about whether to donate Seau’s brain to researchers.)
One of the side effects of traumatic brain injuries are sleep disorders, and according to a recent USA Today report, Seau had struggled with sleeplessness for years. At least four of Seau’s friends said that Seau often took Ambien to help him sleep.
Another friend, former Chargers teammate Mark Walczak, said that “I know he’s had a very difficult time sleeping over the years … I think it’s gotten worse and worse. Lack of sleep creates huge anxiety.”
More details via the USA Today story:
The FDA-approved prescribing information for Ambien warns that suicidal thoughts or actions have been reported by depressed patients using this class of drugs. The information also instructs users not to take it if they drink, which friends say Seau did, and also if they cannot get a full night’s sleep while taking it.Nancy Emsley, Seau’s workout partner at his local gym, said “He told me he usually woke up around 1 or 2 and couldn’t go back to sleep.” She said she lectured Seau about the importance of geting at least eight hours of sleep after taking the medication. “He just rolled his eyes,” Emsley said.
I think it is unfair to jump to the conclusion that being in the NFL had anything to do with his suicide. Just because it is the easy explanation, doesn’t mean it is the correct one.