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Life Lessons to be Learned from the Junior Seau Situation

By Alan Schechter
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Junior Seau (1969-2012) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Junior Seau, pictured right doing what he loved most. Playing football. I know that is what I will remember about him, won’t you? He was just a wonderful football player, 12x Pro Bowler and a 10x All Pro. As a football fan, I was deeply saddened by the news of the day. He was a terrific guy off the field as well, anyone who ever spent time with him loved him. Junior Seau, dead of an apparent suicide, gone far too soon, at age 43.

Tonight, I want to talk about what we can learn, as people, from this unfortunate situation. Was it from Post Concussion Stress? Maybe not, as he never appeared on any injury report with a concussion. We know of course, that doesn’t mean he never had one, but I am not going to talk about that tonight. What we do know is that he was depressed, and that is what I want to take a few minutes away from the game to talk about tonight, and what we should take from it.

First of all, I thought tonight about how we treat our athletes. We are all guilty of this, I am not taking blame away from myself. Haven’t we all been at a game, and we feel like we can say whatever we want, because we paid for our ticket? I know I have.

We have to remember that athletes are people too. We don’t think they hear the nasty comments, but they hear them. They are entertainers, but they are people. Any time we make a personal comment about an athlete, maybe we can take a minute to think about what we are saying.

Think about it in your own lives too. Again, I am guilty too, where we say something that we think is a joke to someone. Do you ever really know for sure that it is a joke? What we think is a joke, could be staying in that person’s mind forever, and could lead them down a path of depression. Think about all the kids that have committed suicide and been on the news. It all started with comments. We should all learn to treat each other better.

Now I want to talk a bit about depression. It’s serious. People sometimes like to brush off people with depression, thinking, “Oh they are just sad”. 54% of people, in fact, believe that depression is a personal weakness. Not true, it is so much more than that. They say that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death, next to heart disease.

It affects approximately 18.8 million Americans.

I can tell you from personal experience that it is so much more than “being sad”. It’s a feeling of the walls closing in around you, and sometimes, despite having friends and loved ones, you feel as if nobody is there to help you. You are trapped inside yourself and you can’t get out.

I know someone close to me that it almost drove to suicide. Fortunately, a friend walked in on her and kept her from doing it. It was completely by accident that her friend found her, but I thank God every day that he did.

Why do I share this?

I want you to leave with this thought:if your friends and/or loved ones are having a tough time, try and carve out some extra time for them. They may seem just “sad” to you, but you don’t know for sure if it’s more than that. If you take the time, maybe you can make a difference in their life.

If we watch what we say to people, and take care of our friends and loved ones, this spinning rock called Earth might be a better place, don’t you think?

Sorry for getting preachy, but it needed to be said. Take care of yourselves and each other.

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