NFL Player’s Family Sues League, Claiming Brain Injuries Contributed to Suicide
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 19, 2013 - Family members are suing the National Football League (NFL) after the death of a player.
In May 2012, professional football player Junior Seau took his own life, and now his family is suing the NFL, claiming the suicide was the result of numerous brain injuries sustained during his career.
Tampa personal injury attorney Robert Joyce commented, “It is widely understood that brain injuries, especially repeated injuries, can cause not only physical damage, but permanent psychological damage as well. It seems possible that repeated head impacts could contribute to suicidal tendencies.”
As a linebacker, Seau received countless blows to the head, and the NFL did not give him information critical to his safety, according to the suit filed recently in California state court in San Diego.
Over 3,000 former NFL players have sued the league for head injuries sustained during their careers. The lawsuits accuse the NFL of failing to notify players of known links between repeated head impacts and cumulative brain injuries.
Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL, was selected for the Pro Bowl 12 times, and retired in 2009. At 43, he killed himself with a gunshot to the chest at his California home. On January 10, the National Institutes of Health said that upon studying samples of Seau's brain tissue, they had found evidence of a progressive brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
A master complaint filed in federal court in Philadelphia, where the various suits are consolidated, claims the league knew as far back as 40 years ago about the risk of repeated blows to the head. Allegedly, the NFL took no action to address the matter until 1994, and later attempted to suppress medical studies showing a link between injuries and subsequent brain damage.
Family and friends of individuals who have died with CTE have described them as being depressed, irritable, and having changes in personality. The disease was first identified in studies of former boxers who developed disorders similar to Parkinson's disease and dementia.
Seau's behavior seemed to change beginning in the mid-1990s, according to his family's lawsuit. He became forgetful, unable to concentrate, and eventually self-destructive and violent.
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