Many young boys dream of becoming football players in the NFL, but few have the talent and drive to make it happen like former San Diego Chargers linebacker, Junior Seau. But although his career with the NFL was highly successful, including twelve Pro Bowl appearances, his life after his 2009 retirement was turbulent, plagued with insomnia and depression. In May of 2012, the athlete died of a self inflicted gunshot wound, and it was later discovered that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease caused by repeated blows to the head and that several other former players have been known to have as well.
Since CTE has gotten more attention, the NFL has made efforts to make football safer for the players. Taking issue with how the NFL has addressed brain injuries in the past, Seau's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the league and also a helmet manufacturer, claiming that failed to conduct sufficient testing to assure that players were safe.
Seau's family is not alone in holding the NFL responsible. Thousands of players have sued the NFL in recent years based on head injuries suffered over the course of the game. The family claims that obtaining money is not the primary objective of the suit, but instead they want to heighten awareness of the problem. Research has discovered that CTE damages nerve fibers and causes proteins to kill brain cells linked to critical thinking and emotional balance.
Whether the lawsuit will have that effect remains to be seen. In any event, it will likely provide the family with a bit of closure regarding the matter.
Source: New York Daily News, "Junior Seau's family sues NFL claiming star linebacker's suicide a result of brain disease caused by violent hits," Michael O'Keefe, Jan. 23, 2013
- Brain injury cases are often complex. Our firm provides counsel in these types of matters. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Miami brain injuries page.