Junior Seau’s family, who had to deal with his tragic death in 2012, brought up objections Friday to the $760 million proposal to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of former professional NFL players charging that the league wasn’t clear enough on the risk of head injuries and concussions.
Seau’s family was not happy with the different treatment people with wrongful-death claims got as opposed to those who were only injured. Earlier this month the deal was rejected by a federal judge as it did not set aside enough money for the large amount of people affected.
The proposed settlement would have given up to $5 million to each former player suffering from certain brain conditions as a result of repeated hits to the head from years of NFL games and practices.
According to attorneys for the Seau family, family members of retired or deceased NFL players would only receive a minimal payment of a few thousand dollars from the proposed deal. Up to 20,000 former players could ultimately be eligible for payment.
Seau, who was voted to 12 Pro Bowls, died of a fatal gun shot to the chest. After a study of his brain, it was found that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a severe brain condition that leads to aggression and dementia resulting from repeated blows to the head.
The Seau family attorneys contend that whatever settlement comes of the concussion lawsuit, it should also focus on the needs of the survivors of players who died from putting their bodies on the line while playing.
“Mr. Seau’s children have their own claims for the wrong the NFL did to them. His children are not suing for their father’s pain and suffering, they are suing for their own,” Seau’s family attorneys wrote.
Seau is among a few former NFL players to have committed suicide in recent years whose brains have shown symptoms of CTE.
There has been an increase of academic research that show hits to the head from sports such as football or hockey can lead to eventual CTE.
The NFL has already made changes on the field as a result of the research, including a ban on a player’s use of his helmet “to butt, spear or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.” There has also been an increase of precautions taken if a player experiences concussion-like symptoms after taking a hit to the head on the field.