The family of former San Diego Charger Junior Seau has filed a
wrongful death lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL). The lawsuit claims that Seau
committed suicide due to brain disease caused by his play in the NFL.
After his death, Seau was diagnosed with a type of
brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The disease is characterized
by extensive evidence of protein tangles called tau clogging brain tissue,
which are linked to the destruction of brain cells. The disease can cause
a number of debilitating conditions including difficulties with attention,
memory and judgment, explositivity, aggressive tendencies, paranoia and
The Seau’s wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the brain injuries
could have been prevented. Like other concussion lawsuits against the
league, it accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and hiding evidence
of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.
The lawsuit also claims that the NFL was motivated by money. “The
NFL knew or suspected that any rule changes that sought to recognize that
link (to brain disease) and the health risk to NFL players would impose
an economic cost that would significantly and adversely change the profit
margins enjoyed by the NFL and its teams,” the complaint alleges.
Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc. is also named as a defendant. As detailed
in the complaint, the plaintiffs allege Riddell was “negligent in
their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering
of the helmets” used by NFL players.
The lawsuit was filed by Gina Seau, Junior’s ex-wife; Junior’s
children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, trustee of
Seau’s estate. For additional information about who is entitled
to bring a wrongful death action under California law, please stay tuned
for tomorrow’s post.