via BBC News

The family of former American football star Junior Seau has donated his brain for research into the effects of head trauma on football players.

Seau, a 1990s star with the San Diego Chargers, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday, after his girlfriend found him unconscious.

His death followed the 2011 suicide of former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson.

Their deaths have led to questions over the effect of concussions on the brains of professional football players.

“They [the family] believe that through allowing this procedure, it will allow the betterment of other individuals and athletes in the years ahead,” Pastor Shawn Mitchell, former chaplain for the Chargers, told the Reuters news agency.

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“Their thought is, if it can benefit others, then it’s probably worth going forward with.”

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said Seau’s brain would need to be conducted by outside researchers.

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