The National Football League has made changes to the way it allows players to use their helmets during play, in an effort to eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of head injuries that they experience. But for many, these changes are too late.
Former New England Patriot Junior Seau is just one of thousands of NFL players who has experienced trauma to the head from playing football. Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is a debilitating brain condition caused by repeated hits to the head, and often leads to dementia and aggression.
Seau is also one of a handful of former or current NFL players who has recently committed suicide. Seau died after he shot himself in the chest in 2012. Although the suicides aren’t officially linked to CTE, you can’t help but wonder if the condition, and its signature characteristics of aggression and dementia, is what caused these men to take their own lives.
Two weeks after Seau’s untimely death, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL for downplaying the risk of concussions. Some 4,500 additional players are also suing the league. A settlement proposal of $760 million was brought to the table, but today, Seau’s family objected to the amount.
The 12-time Pro Bowl star’s family thinks the proposal, which was already rejected by a district judge for not being enough to pay everyone who has been injured, is flawed, as it doesn’t treat those with wrongful death claims differently than those who were simply injured.
The proposed settlement would allow each player who was diagnosed with a certain brain injury from repeated hits to the head in NFL games and practices, up to $5 million. Ultimately, about 20,000 players could end up receiving money from the lawsuit.
Seau’s family also wants justice for the families of those players who are affected by the brain injuries.
The NFL has prohibited its players from using their helmets to “to butt, spear or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.” The league has also created strict guidelines regarding potential concussions among the players.
But for Seau and other football legends who have tragically passed away because of brain injuries, these changes don’t mean a thing.
Image via YouTube