Coroner releases Seau’s body to family

San Diego County officials say the body of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau was released to his family last weekend after an autopsy.

The family of Seau, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest May 2, now faces a decision.

At least two research groups — the Sports Legacy Institute at Boston University and the Brain Injury Research Institute in Pittsburgh, according to ESPN — have expressed interest in studying Seau’s brain.

There is interest in studying Seau’s brain because it might have suffered many concussions during his long football career. The effect of brain trauma on former NFL players has become a hot topic with more than 1,500 former players having filed lawsuits against the league claiming concussion-related brain trauma.

Seau’s girlfriend discovered his body in a spare bedroom of his house in Oceanside.

Seau played for the University of Southern California before joining the NFL’s San Diego Chargers. He also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots before retiring in 2009 after 20 seasons in the NFL

His family is planning a private funeral Thursday in Oceanside. A public memorial is planned Friday night at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.