Former teammate Gary Plummer thinks Junior Seau suffered over 1,500 concussions

Friends, family and former teammates are still reeling from the suicide of Junior Seau. While much is still unclear over Seau’s motives, the leading suspicion is that any depression he had may have been a result of head trauma from the physical sport he played professionally for two decades. We’ll have that answer eventually now that Seau’s family has agreed to have his brain examined.

Gary Plummer, who spent four seasons as Seau’s teammate on the Chargers until 1993, thinks Seau suffered numerous concussions in his career, and the number he estimates is staggering.

“In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar,” Plummer explained to the Contra Costa Times on Thursday. “They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter. As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don’t have five of these (Grade 1 effects) each game, you were inactive the next game.

“Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions. I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.”

Even if you don’t agree with the way Plummer arrived at that figure, his comments do shed light on the frequency of head injuries with football players and the careless attitude they had for them. It’s important to note that Seau not once in his career was listed on the injury report for a concussion. Still doesn’t mean he never had one.

Seau played during a time when players could get away with playing through and not reporting concussions. It’s naive to believe Seau wasn’t guilty of it, too, especially when his ex-wife has confirmed it.

H/T Tim Kawakami
Photo credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PCYUZ6XSFAEZGKJUT5WIPRDFYM Elron McKenzie

    Gary Plummer: “I had over 1,000 (concussions) in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.” 

    I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people who have felt depressed during their divorce despite never having had a concussion. As for blaming concussions for suicide, take a look at this from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: “Every 14.2 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide. Nearly one million people make a suicide attempt every year.” 

    Obviously, concussions are bad for you. But if concussions made football players suicidal I would think there would have been a heck of a lot more player suicides over the last 70 years. But concussions are the hot topic with the NFL right now, so we have to hear ill-informed cause and effect claims ad infinitum. 

    Depression and mental illness are everyday occurrences in life for some people, regardless of vocation. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MIRFGKW7VC47AJ76DV76BHA6YI Anonymous

    Not to discredit Plummer’s arguement, but who dosen’t get seriously depressed after getting a divorce?