Seau's death hit home for ex-Patriot Ted Johnson
BOSTON (AP) -- Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson says the death of Junior Seau was "the tip of the tipping point" that convinced him to speak out for concussion victims.
Seau shot himself in the chest this month. Although there has been no link established between possible head injuries and his death, Johnson says he's convinced it is at least part of what was troubling the former Patriots and Chargers linebacker.
Johnson spoke Friday at a conference on pediatric concussions at Boston's Children's Hospital.
"This is a very interesting, complex, terrifying issue," Johnson said. "I had true genuine fear for the first time. It makes you take inventory on your own mortality. If a guy like that can do it, can get to that point -- who on the outside looks like he's got the world by the tail and he can still do that, then I got to be very diligent on how I live my life."
Johnson strongly believes Seau's concussions strongly played a role in his death.
"You can't tell me the head trauma he's gotten over the course of his career didn't have some affect on this. As for all of it, no. But I think it exacerbates problems," Johnson said.
Johnson himself said he suffered more than 100 concussions while on the field and dealt with bouts of depression and other mental health issues.
Johnson retired in 2005 after a series of concussions, including a pair just four days apart after he felt pressured to return to the field too early. He says he's confident that wouldn't happen today.
(Copyright (c) 2012 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)