The NFL Players Association released a statement on Thursday following a report that indicated former NFL linebacker Junior Seau suffered from a condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repeated head trauma. Seau committed suicide on May 2, 2012.
The statement called for action to enact better safety measures for NFL players that may help prevent injuries that lead to conditions like CTE:
The only way we can improve the safety of players, restore the confidence of our fans and secure the future of our game is to insist on the same quality of medical care, informed consent and ethical standards that we expect for ourselves and for our family members. This is why the players have asked for things like independent sideline concussion experts, the certification and credentialing of all professional football medical staff and a fairer workers compensation system in professional football.
In addition to the calls for new measures, the statement also asks Congress to take part in building a safer NFL:
Given their keen interest in Health and Safety issues in football, we call on Congressman Cummings, Congressman Issa and the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to review this issue as well.
Seau was an elite player for many of his 20 years in the NFL, and he has been the most prominent NFL star to suffer a death related to depression caused by head trauma during his time as a player. His stature has brought a new, more focused attention in the public eye toward safety reforms and improvement in football at all levels.
In recent years, the NFL has taken steps to avoid concussions by protecting defenseless players and reducing risk on kickoffs. Additionally, concussions are dealt with far more scrutiny and players are given far more recovery time to avoid repeated injuries.