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NFL player Junior Seau had brain disease CTE

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NFL player Junior Seau had brain disease CTE

Junior Seau, one of the NFL's best and fiercest players for nearly two decades, had a degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide last May, the National Institutes of Health told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Results of an NIH study of Seau's brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

``The brain was independently evaluated by multiple experts, in a blind fashion,'' said Dr. Russell Lonser, who oversaw the study. ``We had the opportunity to get multiple experts involved in a way they wouldn't be able to directly identify his tissue even if they knew he was one of the individuals studied.''

The NIH, based in Bethesda, Md., conducted a study of three unidentified brains, one of which was Seau's. It said the findings on Seau were similar to autopsies of people ``with exposure to repetitive head injuries.''

Seau's family requested the analysis of his brain.

Seau was a star linebacker for 20 NFL seasons with San Diego, Miami and New England before retiring in 2009. He died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound.

He joins a list of several dozen football players who had CTE. Boston University's center for study of the disease reported last month that 34 former pro players and nine who played only college football suffered from CTE.

``I was not surprised after learning a little about CTE that he had it,'' Seau's 23-year-old son Tyler said. ``He did play so many years at that level. I was more just kind of angry I didn't do something more and have the awareness to help him more, and now it is too late.

``I don't think any of us were aware of the side effects that could be going on with head trauma until he passed away. We didn't know his behavior was from head trauma.''

That behavior, according to Tyler Seau and Junior's ex-wife Gina, included wild mood swings, irrationality, forgetfulness, insomnia and depression.

``He emotionally detached himself and would kind of `go away' for a little bit,'' Tyler Seau said. ``And then the depression and things like that. It started to progressively get worse.''

He hid it well in public, they said. But not when he was with family or close friends.

``We appreciate the Seau family's cooperation with the National Institutes of Health,'' the league said in an email to the AP. ``The finding underscores the recognized need for additional research to accelerate a fuller understanding of CTE.

``The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is committed to supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels.''

NFL teams have given a $30 million research grant to the NIH.

The NFL faces lawsuits by thousands of former players who say the league withheld information on the harmful effects concussions. According to an AP review of 175 lawsuits, 3,818 players have filed suit. At least 26 Hall of Famer members are among the players who have done so.

Seau is not the first former NFL player who killed himself, then was found to have CTE. Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling are others.

Duerson, a former Chicago Bears defensive back, left a note asking for his brain to be studied for signs of trauma before shooting himself. His family filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL, claiming the league didn't do enough to prevent or treat the concussions that severely damaged his brain.

Easterling played safety for the Falcons in the 1970s. After his career, he suffered from dementia, depression and insomnia, according to his wife, Mary Ann. He committed suicide last April.

Mary Ann Easterling is among the plaintiffs who have sued the NFL.

``It was important to us to get to the bottom of this, the truth,'' Gina Seau said, ``and now that it has been conclusively determined from every expert that he had obviously had it, CTE, we just hope it is taken more seriously.

``You can't deny it exists, and it is hard to deny there is a link between head trauma and CTE. There's such strong evidence correlating head trauma and collisions and CTE.''

Tyler Seau played football through high school and for two years in college. He says he has no symptoms of any brain trauma.

Gina Seau's son Jake, now a high school junior, played football for two seasons, but has switched to lacrosse and has been recruited to play at Duke.

``Lacrosse is really his sport and what he is passionate about,'' she said. ``He is a good football player and probably could continue. But especially now watching what his dad went through, he says, `Why would I risk lacrosse for football?'

``I didn't have to have a discussion with him after we saw what Junior went through.''

Her 12-year-old son, Hunter, has shown no interest in playing football.

``That's fine with me,'' she said.

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

Suggs, who spent 16 seasons with the Ravens, will look to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with a victory in his second Super Bowl appearance (Won SB XLVII) this time as a member of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Suggs departed from Baltimore before the 2019 season, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Arizona Cardinals before being waived mid-season. 

The Ravens were rumored to be interested in a reunion with their all-time leader in sacks but did not put in a claim, being last in waiver priority, and Suggs was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.



While the Ravens' 2019 season ended prematurely at the hands of the Titans, fans in Baltimore can take solace knowing that Suggs and the Chiefs helped bring the Titans' magical season to an end.

Suggs' accolades (2011 AP Def. Player of the Year, 2003 AP Def. Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro-Bowl, 1x All-Pro) will stand the test of time, but adding a second Super Bowl ring to his resume would make his Hall of Fame candidacy that much greater. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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