The family of former NFL star Junior Seau is reconsidering its plans to donate his brain to a medical study into the impact of repetitive concussions on football players following his shock suicide.
The family’s pastor, Shawn Mitchell, told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the family had decided to allow access to researchers investigating the long-term effects on head hits "to help other individuals down the road."
But on Saturday, Mitchell told Reuters the family "have now stepped back from what they were thinking initially."
"Nothing is definite right now," he said.
"I don’t want to give the impression they’re not going to anymore … [but] we thought everything was kind of nailed, and now it’s in flux."
Seau, who played pro football for 20 seasons, was found dead by his girlfriend inside their home in Oceanside, near San Diego, on Wednesday, with a gunshot wound to his chest.
The 43-year-old’s suicide echoed the death of ex-Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who fatally shot himself in the chest, at age 50, 14 months ago.
The studies into chronic brain damage came amid widespread litigation against the NFL by former players over the impact of past concussions, including a suit of more than 100 ex-pros filed Thursday.
More than 1,600 former players were pursuing legal action, accusing the league of failing to do enough to protect them from subsequent brain injuries. The league denies misleading players.