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Brain Injury: Football Culture’s Biggest Problem?

Results of an NIH study of Junior Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. Seau committed suicide last May. Here, in 2010, Seau warms up before a NFL wild-card playoff football game in Foxborough. (Charles Krupa/AP File)

Results of an NIH study of Junior Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. Seau committed suicide last May. Here, in 2010, Seau warms up before a NFL wild-card playoff football game in Foxborough. (Charles Krupa/AP File)

Junior Seau, football’s “monster in the middle,” became a victim of the sport he loved and played.

Seau, who played for the New England Patriots and other NFL teams, committed suicide last year. After his death, his family donated his brain to the National Institutes of Health for research.

On Thursday, medical researchers confirmed that Seau suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy at the time of his death — likely caused by repeated blows to the head.

Bill Littlefield, host of NPR’s Only A Game, wrote recently about America football culture on Cognoscenti, WBUR’s opinion and ideas page, noting how it places a premium on those “nasty hits” and “crushing tackles.”

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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

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