Junior Seau’s family sued the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell on Wednesday in a California Superior Court in San Diego.
According to the Associated Press, the wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL claims Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from hits and blames the NFL for “acts or omissions” that the hid the dangers and risks associated with head injuries from players.
The Seaus also sued Riddell, the helmet manufacture, for being negligent “in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” NFL players wore.
The National Institutes of Health found Seau’s brain had CTE. Seau committed suicide last May. The former USC standout and San Diego Charger great was a beloved figure in the San Diego, California community.
“We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE,” Seau’s family told the AP in a 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.
The family continued:
“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 a statement after the findings that indicated Seau suffered from CTE, the NFL said they are “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.”
In the lawsuit, Seau’s family, though, accuses the NFL hid some the health risks for profit.
They allege “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.”
According to the AP, “Plaintiffs are listed as Gina Seau, Junior’s ex-wife; Junior’s children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, trustee of Seau’s estate.”