As Sacramento residents know, American football is on the short list of sports that permeate practically every aspect of American society. Children grow up wanting to emulate their favorite player, while adults form seemingly impossibly close bonds with the teams and players they support. The United State's number one sport may be in trouble as the NFL is hit with multiple lawsuits over the brain injuries their players have developed.
The family of former NFL player Junior Seau has filed a suit against the NFL in California. The suit comes after the National Institutes of Health found that Seau had a brain disease linked to blows to the head. The disease CTE can cause depression and dementia, both possible factors in Seau's suicide. The suit has been brought on the behalf of Seau's four surviving children.
According to records, Seau never officially suffered a concussion during the years he played in the NFL, but the suit alleges that he experienced symptoms of head trauma. One of the lawsuits more shocking claims asserts that the NFL was aware of the potential dangers the players faced and not only didn't release the information but took steps to cover it up.
The suit also names the NFL's helmet maker Riddell, Inc., claiming that they were negligent in the design and testing of their product. Currently, over 190 lawsuits by around 4,000 former NFL players have been combined into a federal lawsuit.
In a case like this, even when the player's death was by his own hand, family members may still be able to recover if the actions of the equipment maker and the sports league are found to have caused the player's death. The suit may give outsiders a closer view into the world of professional football and how the competitive nature of the players and sports in general may actually be working to the players' detriment. While lost loved ones can never be returned, the outcome of these types of suits may help prevent more tragic cases.
Source: USA Today, "Junior Seau's family sues NFL over brain injuries," Gary Mihoces, Jan. 23, 2013