The tragic death of Junior Seau is part of a chain of NFL suicides, with some players leaving last requests, asking medical professionals to study their brains in post-mortem research.
Now CNN reports that Seau's family will let researchers study the former NFL linebacker's brain for evidence of trauma.
The former Chargers linebacker killed himself Wednesday with a gunshot to the chest.
The family made the decision to allow the research in hopes it will help NFL players and others in the future, according to CNN's report.
Seau' final autopsy report may take up to 90 days to complete.
Seau may have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease brought on by multiple concussions, as the legendary linebacker suffered a number of hits to the head during his career. This will be determined in the autopsy.
CNN noted that Seau's brain may be sent to Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, the research center that found former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson suffered degenerative damage to his brain because of repeated hits. Duerson also committed suicide, shooting himself in the chest in 2011 and leaving a suicide note that said he wanted his brain studied for possible damage.
Seau's suicide follows last month's suicide of former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the NFL over concussion-related injuries.
CNN reports that Easterling and Duerson "exhibited symptoms of repetitive head trauma: memory lapses, anger and deep depression, according to family and friends. And in both cases, researchers found signs of brain trauma."
In an op/ed piece for Huffington Post, Dr. Reef Karim questions the price men pay to play in the NFL.
In his article "Life After the NFL," noted psychiatrist and Founder/Medical Director, The Control Center for Addictions, Dr. Reef Karim writes "What price do you pay to be a professional football player?"
"We are witnessing one former player after another committing suicide. The reports about Junior Seau are just the latest. Players are suffering from dementia, neurodegenerative disorders, post-concussive syndrome, mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders...Many people aren't aware that concussions and head trauma make you more vulnerable to dementia, brain disorders and mental health disorders during and after the blow to the head."