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Mind Control: Junior Seau’s Brain
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
One year ago, on May 2, 2012, the football world was stunned by the sudden suicide of 43-year old Junior Seau. A race to acquire Seau’s brain to research whether it was damaged from years of playing football ensued. An OTL and PBS’ Frontline joint investigation details the role the NFL played in the chase for Seau’s brain, and reveals how the league ultimately seized control. Mark Fainaru-Wada, Steve Fainaru report.
“You can’t go against the NFL, they’ll squash you.” – Bennet Omalu, co-founder of the non-profit Brain Injury Research Institution, on competing for Seau’s brain against the NFL-backed National Institute of Health.
“I think that, obviously, the NFL wants to be real careful as to not look as though they were inserting themselves in the middle of this, where they’re trying to cover something up. So, that, and I can assure you that, is not the case right now.” – Kevin Guskiewicz, a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, on the NFL’s involvement in the competition to study Seau’s brain.
“I didn’t care about what people and doctors were competing for. I just cared about a high level of scientific study, doing it properly without bias.”–Gina Seau, Seau’s ex-wife
DJ Hayden ran an impressive 4.3-second 40 at his pro day at the University of Houston last month, but the throat-to-belly button scar on his chest — from a life-threatening injury suffered in a November practice — drew stares of wonder. Tom Rinaldi reports on Hayden’s recovery and pursuit of an NFL career.
“It usually happens in car accidents, high-speed motor accidents. Usually people don’t even make it to the hospital.” – DJ Hayden, on the severity of his injury, which has a fatality rate between 95-99%
“He should’ve died. There are too many things that happened right that day.” – Mike O’Shea, University of Houston team trainer who was crucial in saving Hayden’s life
Green Room: Waiting is the Hardest Part
There are many reasons NFL prospects avoid coming to New York to sit in the Draft night “Green Room” — which is neither green nor a room – and perhaps wait, and wait, and wait. Liz Merrill reports.
Out in the Great Alone
ESPN Grantland (ESPN.com)
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race pushes participants to the brink on an unforgiving trek to the end of the world. And, as one writer who tracked the race by air discovers, that is exactly the point. Brian Phillips writes.