When former linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide in his home last May, initial reports suggested that he killed himself because of head trauma suffered during his playing career. Those beliefs were correct as Seau, who shot himself in the chest, was posthumously diagnosed with diachronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) last month.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the suit claims that through “acts or omissions,” the NFL hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. The AP reported the plaintiffs are Seau’s ex-wife Gina, his children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, the trustee of Seau’s estate.
The Seau family is also suing helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., claiming it was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets”.
The Seaus also released a statement to the Associated Press in regards to their lawsuit.
“We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE,” the family said in the statement. “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.”
In addition to the case being presented by Seau’s family, the Associated Press reports that nearly 3,800 former NFL players have have sued the NFL over head injuries in at least 175 court cases.
The report does not detail how many of those cases were won.
If the Seau family wins their case against the NFL it could have an enormous impact on the game and how it is played.
While the NFL has tried to improve safety over the past few seasons, losing a case such as this could cause them to be forced to dedicate even more money and time to player safety. It could also lead to hundreds, if not thousands, of other former players suing the NFL for past injuries.