Our readers may have heard of the legal proceedings going on regarding the suicide of Pro Bowlder Junior Seau. The 43-year-old linebacker died last May of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His survivors have alleged that he had experienced violent blows throughout his career that caused traumatic brain injury, depression, and ultimately led to his death.
His 20-year career with San Diego, Miami and New England ended in 2009, but Seau wasn’t diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) until after his death. The problem of brain injury among NFL players is not an isolated one. Almost 4,000 former NFL players have filed concussion-related lawsuits, accusing the NFL of hiding the risks of concussions and head injuries while focusing on glorifying violence on the field.
Seau’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL, and another lawsuit was filed on behalf of Seau’s four children. Those lawsuits are seeking medical monitoring for former players and potential damages, though sources didn’t indicate the amount being sought.
As of now, the NFL isn’t commenting on the issue until the April 9 court arguments. The league did say last August, in a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit filed by former NFL players, that it denied any fraud or concealment. The league also pointed out that the collective bargaining agreements covers safety and health rules and delegates medical decision about players to each team.
The players, however, are convinced the NFL acted negligently, that it concealed known medical links between concussions and brain injuries, which lead many of them to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or to be at increase risk of risky behavior.
Source: ESPN.com, “Seau suit merged with Pa. case,” April 2, 2013