Football great Junior Seau's brain to be examined

Football great Junior Seau's brain will be examined for evidence of repetitive injuries from his playing days following the retired linebacker's suicide in his California beachfront home, a pastor for the family said on Friday.

Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl (all-star game) selection who played for 20 years in the National Football League, was found unconscious at his home by his girlfriend on Wednesday with a gunshot wound to the chest and a revolver nearby, police said.

Pastor Shawn Mitchell, a former chaplain for Seau's longtime team, the San Diego Chargers, said he did not know who would study Seau's brain at the request of the family.

The death was at least the third apparent suicide by a former NFL player since February 2011.

Mitchell said the family had not expressed to him specific concerns that Seau suffered brain injuries, but the pastor has said Seau likely suffered concussions during his long football career.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, which found in an autopsy on Thursday that Seau's death was due to suicide, has said study of the brain for repetitive injury would have to be conducted by outside researchers.

Sarah Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office, said she did not have any further information on whether the family had formally approached the agency to request the brain study.

Seau, who played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots after leaving the Chargers, retired after the 2009 season. He lived in Oceanside, just north of San Diego.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand)