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Seau’s Family Is Reconsidering Donating Brain

New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau during Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP)

The family of Junior Seau, the one-time New England Patriots linebacker who committed suicide Wednesday at his California home, reportedly says it is rethinking its decision to donate his brain to researchers.

Late Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the family had decided to allow researchers to study Seau’s brain for possible damage caused by multiple concussions suffered during his hard-hitting, 20-year NFL career.

Then, this weekend, multiple reports said the family is rethinking that decision. “The Seau family is currently revisiting several important family decisions and placing them on hold in order to confer with their elders,” the family’s pastor told the Times in a statement Sunday.

The Times added: “In the Samoan culture, family decisions are made after discussion among elders.”

The Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, one group that could conduct such research, has not confirmed whether it would be interested in studying the brain of the 43-year-old Seau.

The BU center has studied the brains of dozens of former athletes. Last year, it concluded that former NFL player Dave Duerson, who also fatally shot himself, had been suffering from a degenerative brain disease that likely contributed to his suicide.

Seau’s suicide has reignited conversations about the safety of NFL players and precautions taken for youth athletes in contact sports.

On Sunday, hundreds participated in a “paddle-out” tribute to Seau in front of the late player’s home in Oceanside, Calif.

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