As Baltimore prepares for the Super Bowl and its commercials to descend upon America and the World, the Ravens’ huge hits and unbelievable catches will be glorified and watched over and over in anticipation to the big game. Kids will be out in the backyards having their own version of the matchup in what some often term their “snow bowls” out in the freezing winter weather.
However, those who have experienced the trauma of seeing someone suffer through chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, will not be rejoicing at the bone crushing collisions, but instead wincing and hoping that the same disease avoids those players later in life. Junior Seau, a player’s player and charismatic ambassador for the sport of football suffered from CTE. It was discovered after his suicide this past year and is being cited as the reason for his actions. That is why his family is now suing the NFL for his wrongful death.
The lawsuit claims that the NFL knew of the risks the sport poses to players and their neurological functions later in life, yet has kept that information from both the public and the players. According to the Seau family, the lawsuit is being brought against the NFL in order to send a message that they need to take care of both their current their former players. The lawsuit also includes as defendants several football helmet makers and claims fraud and negligence as well as wrongful death. The family is seeking unspecified damages.
While the league has acknowledged in recent years the need for further studies on brain injuries due to concussions and repetitive brain trauma, they also seem to recognize that their money is made off of the inherent violence within the game. The Seau family believes that the NFL while appearing concerned for the players still tends to market “the ferocity and brutality of the game.”
CTE can only be accurately diagnosed through autopsy since mild to moderate brain injuries do not reveal themselves on CT scans or other medical imaging devices. The disease used to be known as “boxer’s dementia” as it was caused by repeated brain impact. It has since been seen in other athletes such as football players who receive continual impact to the head as well as members of the armed forces who experience concussions and other head trauma injuries due to bomb blast waves.
Source: Thomson Reuters, “Family of former Chargers star Junior Seau sues NFL over suicide,” Dan Whitcomb, Jan. 23, 2013