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The family of Junior Seau has filed suit against the NFL, alleging that Seau’s suicide was the result of a brain disease that developed because of repetitive blows to the head while playing football. The lawsuit claims that the NFL concealed the dangers of repetitive blows to the head and alleges that Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from playing football. The suit also states that the NFL deliberately ignored and hit evidence of the risks connected with traumatic brain injury.

Seau was a former linebacker who died in May 2012 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Seau was diagnosed with CTE after his death, based on post mortem studies. Seau retired in 2009 after 20 seasons with the NFL and was considered to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He was 43 years old at the time of his death.

According to the Associated Press, more than 3,800 NFL players have filed lawsuits against the NFL. More than 100 concussion lawsuits are pending in Philadelphia before U.S. District Judge Anita Brody.

Also named as a defendant in the Seau suit is Riddell Inc. Riddell is the manufacturer of the helmets used by NFL players. The lawsuit alleges that Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” and claims that the helmets were unreasonably dangerous and unsafe products.

In a statement released to the Associated Press, the Seau family said “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.”

The NFL has denied the allegations, saying “The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is committed to supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels.”

The National Institutes of Health studied three brains–one of which was Seau’s–and reported that Seau’s brain was similar to the brains of people “with exposure to repetitive head injuries.”

For more information, contact the Ohio brain injury lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: Huffington Post, “Junior Seau’s Family Sues NFL Over Brain Injuries,” Barry Wilner, Associated Press, January 23, 2013.