Junior Seau suffered from the type of chronic brain damage that has also been experienced by dozens of deceased former NFL players, according to five brain specialists.
Seau's ex-wife, Gina, and his oldest son Tyler, 23, told ABC News and ESPN in an exclusive interview they were informed last week that Seau's brain had tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression.
CTE is a progressive disease associated with repeated head trauma. Although long known to occur in boxers, it was not discovered in football players until 2005.
"I think it's important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE," Gina Seau said. "It's important that we take steps to help these players. We certainly don't want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes."
Seau committed suicide in May.