The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL on Wednesday, claiming Seau's suicide was a result of brain disease caused from playing in the NFL.
Seau died in May from a self-inflicted gunshot. He was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) based on posthumous tests earlier this month, a condition his family says developed as a result of the violent hits he sustained while playing in the NFL.
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In the lawsuit, the family claims the NFL hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head and deliberately ignored and concealed evidence of the risks of traumatic brain injuries. In addition to the NFL, the Seau family also sued Ridell Inc., the company which manufactured the helmet's worn by Seau.
"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 family said in a statement released to the Associated Press.
Seau's brain was analyzed in a study by the National Institutes of Health, which revealed that his brain was similar to those who suffered repetitive head injuries. The lawsuit accused the NFL of glorifying violence, including NFL Films and the creation of videos promoting violent hits.
Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2009. More than 3,800 players have sued the NFL due to head injuries suffered during their playing days, including a class action lawsuit currently being reviewed in a federal district court in Pennsylvania.