Today, approximately two weeks after former NFL San Diego Chargers’ linebacker Junior Seau’s autopsy revealed that he was suffering from a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head at the time of his May, 2012 suicide, Seau’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a California Superior Court against the NFL.
The lawsuit is holding the NFL accountable for its "acts or omissions," for hiding the dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE.)
The lawsuit claims that Seau’s suicide was a direct result of contracting CTE while he played for the NFL according to Yahoo! Sports.
Seau shot himself to death in May, 2012, when he was 43-years-old. Seau played 13 seasons for the Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent three years before his final four years playing with the New England Patriots. He retired from pro football in 2010.
In addition to suing the NFL, the Seau family is also suing Riddell Inc., a football helmet manufacturer, claiming that the company was "negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets."
The Seau family released the following statement today:
"We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE."
"While Junior always expected to have aches and pains from his playing days, none of us ever fathomed that he would suffer a debilitating brain disease that would cause him to leave us too soon.
"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."
The NFL is on record as denying the kinds of allegations brought forth in the Seau family lawsuit, and today released their own statement:
"Our attorneys will review it and respond to the claims appropriately through the court."
In recent years, over 3,800 football players have also sued the NFL over head injuries.
The dangers of CTE have been well known and widely publicized for some time. If the NFL is found guilty of a wrongful death in this instance, the legal ramifications of future lawsuits from past and current players could be staggering.
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