The family of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau has filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL.
The suit, filed in California Superior Court in San Diego, claims that his suicide last May was caused by brain disease stemming from violent hits during his football career and blames the NFL for acts of omission, Pro Football Talk reported Wednesday, citing a story from the Associated Press.
Helmet maker Riddell Inc. is included in the lawsuit.
The NFL is accused of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries. Tests after Seau's death revealed that he had Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (CTE).
Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot. He retired in 2009 after 20 years in the NFL.
"We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE," the family said in a statement to the AP. "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."
According to reports, the plaintiffs in the suit are Gina Seau, Junior's ex-wife; his children, Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, a trustee of Seau's estate.
The NFL, which is faciling similiar lawsuits from other players, has denied allegations of negligence in the past.