The family of Junior Seau, the linebacker for the San Diego Chargers who recently committed suicide, has sued the NFL over the player’s brain injuries.
In what is now becoming a long list of thousands of people who are suing the NFL over the long-term damage caused by concussions, the family believes the player put a gun to his head due to his brain disease caused by the repeated blows to the head from his playing days.
Seau’s ex-wife and four children sued the league in California Superior Court in San Diego. The family blames the NFL for “acts or omissions” that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. The suit claims Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from those hits, and accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot last May. Posthumous testing revealed he had been suffering from CTE.
More than 3,800 players have sued the NFL over head injuries, and at least 175 of those cases involved concussions. The total number of plaintiffs, including spouses, relatives and other representatives, equal more than 6,000.
“Our attorneys will review it and respond to the claims appropriately through the court,” the NFL said in a recent statement.
The Seau family also named helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., as a defendant, claiming Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” used by the NFL players. Riddell issued a statement saying it is, “confident in the integrity of our products and our ability to successfully defend our products against challenges.”
Seau was one of the best linebackers during his 20 seasons in the NFL, retiring in 2009.
“We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE,” the family said in a statement released to the AP. “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.”