Written by Alex Drude | 18 May 2012
I have been wanting to write something about the suicide of former San Diego Charger and New England Patriot linebacker Junior Seau for a while now, but I can't think of a way to properly express what's been running through my mind. So this will be a bit of a ramble. Sometimes rambles are good things. I like to ramble, anyway. You may have already figured this out.
My first thought was that if Seau, a brilliant football player, can be driven to do such a thing, then truly anybody can somehow become that despondent. Suicide, I think, happens when somebody believes all is lost and that there is no way things can end well. I also believe that's impossible - everyone can turn around, everyone can find a different purpose for their life. It's never too late for a second chance. We must not be afraid to be the positive person that somebody that we know out there needs now.
My second thought was that if it was because of football-related injuries and problems with his brain that drove him to do that, then how can ESPN or any news outlet run his story . . . and then turn around and have the next story be about rookies like LaMichael James beginning their NFL career? How can the violence of football be celebrated when star players like Seau, who I remember watching play the game with such passion for years, are coming to ends like this?
My third thought has to do with education, with awareness, with making sure this doesn't happen again. In the entertainment industry, it is widely accepted that the tragic death of John Belushi in 1982 made many in that business re-examine how they lived and the paths they were on. Belushi was considered indestructable by all who knew him, and his death was a wake-up call for them. The hundreds of celebrities who have gone into rehab since then and come out on the other side owe a debt to that comic genius who never got to truly fulfill his capabilities.
I can only hope that Seau's passing is a wake-up call for everybody who ever played the game to reach out to their teammates, to make sure that they know they are not forgotten.
I hope it's a wake-up call to every doctor and trainer to be on the lookout for signs of depression or odd behavior.
I hope it's a wake-up call to every friend and family member of a football player to not let them shrug off symptoms that may someday manifest themselves in a negative way, and to encourage them to do something about it now.
I hope it's a wake-up call to make sure that Junior Seau's suicide has a postive ending, that it never happens like this again.
I hope it's a wake-up call for everybody, football player or not.