Further Review | Sports Life and death of Tatupu a tragic cautionary tale By Dave Reardon Jan. 28, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! CURTIS MURAYAMA / CMURAYAMA@STARADVERTISER.COMLinnea Garcia-Tatupu spoke at Mosi Tatupu’s induction into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Like many of us, Linnea Garcia-Tatupu is conflicted about football. The game allowed the men in her life to fulfill their dreams, to achieve at the highest level of a profession, starring in the NFL. Her husband, Mosi, made it to the Pro Bowl. Her son, Lofa, did so twice. They both won national championships at USC and both went to the Super Bowl as pros. Last weekend, Mosi was enshrined in the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. But, now, it is becoming clearer that the game also took Mosi’s life at age 54. When Linnea and I talked in 2010, there was still no official cause of death for Mosi, days after his passing. But we both strongly suspected concussions from playing football at least contributed to it. On Saturday, she told me the cause of death is now officially listed as a heart attack. But a part of Mosi’s brain was studied by a neurologist, who concluded chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) led to his decline in health and eventual death. CTE is the same disorder caused by concussions that has led to deaths of former football players, including Junior Seau and John Wilbur. As Linnea told me this, we were standing in a corner of the new gallery of the hall of fame at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. Linnea, Lofa and Linnea and Mosi’s daughter, Nea, were there on behalf of Mosi for his enshrinement in the PFHOF. Mosi was one of the greatest athletes ever from Hawaii. He played 14 years in the NFL, 13 of them as a star special teams player and hard-nosed running back for the New England Patriots. Mosi never shied from contact. He was one of the Patriots’ most popular players. Linnea is far from the only person to describe him as a kind, charismatic and happy-go-lucky man, especially when he was young. They met when she was 16, he a multi-sport standout at Punahou and she a track star at Radford. "We laughed every day from that day in 1972. If we weren’t laughing with each other we were laughing at each other. I still love him," Linnea said. But she said things began to change in the mid-1980s. The couple started to miscommunicate and quarrel often, she said. The arguments, though never physical, got worse, and Linnea said they grew apart and eventually divorced. We talked again Tuesday, and Linnea said she believes Mosi’s personality changed due to numerous concussions incurred from playing football. She added that although she did not know it at the time, she was suffering from depression, which was diagnosed in 2005. "When I first got the diagnosis, that’s when I understood why our communication broke down. My situation definitely played into it." Linnea said Mosi turned to alcohol, and that contributed to his health problems. "Self-medication is one of the things that is becoming more prevalent as the (CTE) studies advance," she said. "Also things like reasoning, decision-making are affected. One of the things that bothered me most was his high blood pressure and that he wouldn’t treat it." Linnea said Saturday that she is grateful every day that Lofa, 32, no longer plays football. She said she hopes her grandchildren never take up the game. Despite conflicting emotions, she honored Mosi’s career with grace and dignity in a speech Saturday. The most poignant moment was when she addressed the young, current players in the crowd specifically and told them to "have safe careers." "It was very hard for me this weekend. I know Mosi would have been very honored and it is not my intention to tarnish his career," she said. "I don’t know how this is going to play out because this is so raw. I’m just no longer going to sit here being quiet about something I know is silently killing people. I knew if Mosi thought there was something he could do to ease people’s pain, he’d want it done." She is "extremely grateful" that former Hula Bowl executive director Lenny Klompus plans to resurrect the Mosi Tatupu Award, which was given to college football’s top special teams player from 1997 to 2006. Hopefully that — combined with Tatupu’s popularity from American Samoa to Hawaii to Los Angeles to New England — can expand awareness and research of CTE issues. Linnea also wants to meet with Wilbur’s daughters, who organized a "neuro-huddle" here last week at the University of Hawaii campus, gathering coaches, doctors and others interested in sports-related concussions. Linnea Garcia-Tatupu summed it all up in four words. "Football giveth, football taketh." Reach Dave Reardon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4783. His blog is at hawaiiwarriorworld.com/quick-reads. Previous Story Rose's shot lifts Bulls over Warriors in overtime Next Story Lynch's next scripted answer: 'You know why I'm here'