Junior Seau Autopsy Finds No Brain Damage or Drug Abuse

| by Alex Groberman

When Junior Seau died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on May 2nd of this year, there was rampant speculation about what caused him to do what he did.

Some suggested it was the head injuries he had sustained during the course of his 20-year NFL career that drove him to the point of no return. Others thought that perhaps it had something to do with him abusing illegal drugs and/or alcohol.

According to a information released on Monday – neither theory is accurate. The toxicology report showed that the only thing of note that was found in his system was zolpidem (Ambien is the best-selling brand of zolpidem), a drug often used to deal with insomnia.

Via USA Today:

The report said medications collected from the scene included 10 milligram tablets of zolpidem. It said the level found in Seau's blood was 0.14 mg/liter.

A 10 mg dose of zolpidem results in a blood concentration of 0.12 mg/liter after more than an hour and a half, according to a fact sheet on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The toxicology report also noted a lesser trace (under 5.0 mg/L) of naproxen, an anti-inflammatory drug.

Previously, Seau’s family and friends told the media that he had been a frequent user of Ambien and that he often had trouble sleeping; therefore, the discovery of a drug related to that problem being found in his system isn’t particularly surprising. The fact that no illegal drugs were found was the key takeaway from this report.

If it wasn’t alcohol or drugs that drove Seau to do what he did, though, was it brain damage? According to CNN – no.

Via the report:

The brain of former National Football League star Junior Seau showed no apparent signs of damage from Seau's years in professional football, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

People were hoping that once the brain examination and toxicology reports came out we would finally have some information on what caused this tragedy to occur. That we would finally have some answers. Now that they’re out, it just feels like we have more questions than ever before.

(Kudos USA Today, CNN, LA Times)

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