The late Junior Seau’s family has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL, saying their family member’s suicide happened because of brain disease caused by the hard hits he took while playing football.
Seau’s family filed the lawsuit in California Superior Court in San Diego on Wednesday, and in it they blame the NFL for “acts or omissions” that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. The suit goes on to say that Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) due to said hits, and they claim the NFL is at fault for deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Seau passes away at the age of 43 when he shot himself in the head in May. He was diagnosed with the CTE disease posthumously earlier this month. “Our attorneys will review it and respond to the claims appropriately through the court,” the NFL said in a statement Wednesday.
Riddell Inc., who makes helmets for the NFL, is also named in the suit for being “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” used by NFL players. The suit says the helmets were unreasonably dangerous and unsafe.
“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.”
Plaintiffs for the wrongful death suit are listed as Gina Seau, Junior’s ex-wife; Junior’s children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, trustee of Seau’s estate.