The family of the deceased professional football star Junior Seau has joined thousands of other plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits against the National Football League. The wrongful death lawsuit charges that the former linebacker’s suicide in May 2012 was the result of brain damage caused by concussions he sustained while playing in the league.
As in the other lawsuits, many of which were filed in Philadelphia, Seau’s ex-wife and four children say that NFL officials knew about the harmful long-term damage caused by multiple concussions, but they hid the evidence from players and failed to make the game safer. Many of the lawsuits also center on evidence of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The lawsuit filed by Seau’s family says that an autopsy of Seau’s brain after a self-inflicted gunshot wound took his life showed that he had CTE. Last month, the National Institutes of Health concluded that Seau’s brain showed signs consistent with autopsies of people ”with exposure to repetitive head injuries.”
In the lawsuit, Seau’s family testified that his behavior had grown increasingly erratic in the time leading up to when he took his own life. It also stated that the family believes the NFL knew of the link between CTE and concussions but failed to take action because of financial reasons.
The lawsuit states: ”We know this lawsuit will not bring back Junior. But it will send a message that the NFL needs to care for its former players, acknowledge its decades of deception on the issue of head injuries and player safety, and make the game safer for future generations.”
At least 3,800 former players and 6,000 spouses, relatives and other representatives have sued the NFL in recent years over the issue. Many of the 175-some cases have been consolidated in Philadelphia federal district court. The helmet manufacturer, Riddell Inc., also named as a defendant in many of the lawsuits.
Source: Yahoo! News, “Seau’s family sues NFL over brain injuries,” Barry Wilner, Jan. 23, 2013