Junior Seau’s suicide last year has been regularly making headlines as it has been discovered that Seau had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease linked to repeated head trauma and can cause depression, anxiety, and possibly dementia. Now he finds himself back in the headlines as his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Football League for not doing enough to protect Seau from the dangers of repeated traumatic brain injury.
Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL from 1990 to 2009 as a linebacker, and though he never officially was diagnosed while playing, the family says he played through the pain because of expectations felt upon him. According to USA Today, The suit said that numerous times, “He would sit on the sidelines until he regained his bearings and he would then return to the games.”
The suit filed alleges the NFL is not protecting players as well as not assisting in helping them find health care for long-term injuries received during their career after they retire.
The suit also names helmet maker Riddell Inc. as a defendant, alleging negligence in the design and testing of the helmets, also claiming they are unsafe.
“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.” said Seau’s family in a statement.
“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 suit was filed on January 23 in California Super Court in San Diego, and is very similar to a suit filed last February in Cook County, Ill., by the estate of former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson. Duerson committed suicide in 2011 in a fashion also similar to Seau’s.