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Family files wrongful death suit in brain injury case

The family of a former NFL star has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Football League, claiming that head trauma the football player suffered during his career led to a brain injury that caused him to commit suicide. Junior Seau, 43, died at his own hand in May after being diagnosed with CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition caused by repeated blows to the head.

The lawsuit claims that the NFL deliberately concealed evidence of the risks associated with head trauma from players although the organization was aware that repeated hits could lead to permanent damage. The suit is one of more than 175 cases filed over concussion injuries sustained by football players. The family is also suing Riddell Inc., the manufacturer of helmets used by NFL players, claiming that the helmets are unsafe.

The family claims to have filed the lawsuit due to the fact that they believe the NFL should acknowledge its "decades of deception" and take steps to make football safer for those who participate. The lawsuit also alleges that the NFL has created an environment in which striking hard indicates a show of strength and courage and does not damage health. The NFL denies this claim, stating that it is committed to the protection and health of its players.

A wrongful death suit is a way for a family in many states, including Kentucky, to collect damages from a person or organization whose negligence has caused a loved one's death. In order to show proof of a wrongful death, a plaintiffs must be able to connect a person or organization's negligence with the injuries suffered by the family member.

Source: Lex 18 News, "Seau's family sues NFL over brain injuries," Jan. 23, 2013

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