Seau family reaches settlement in wrongful death suit against NFL

(Reuters) – The family of Pro Football Hall of Famer Junior Seau, who killed himself in 2012 and was later found to have a brain disease, reached a settlement with the National Football League (NFL) on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau celebrates sacking San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in first quarter of the NFL’s AFC championship football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts January 20, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in 2013 in San Diego Superior Court by Seau’s children and ex-wife, as well as the trustee of his estate, alleged that the brain damage he suffered during his 20 years in the NFL led to his suicide.

One of the family’s lawyers, Steve Strauss of the firm Cooley, said in a statement a “confidential settlement” was secured with the league.

FILE PHOTO: A No.55 jersey is seen on display at Qualcomm Stadium as part of a “Celebration of Life” memorial, held in memory of former San Diego Chargers and NFL linebacker Junior Seau in San Diego, California May 11, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The NFL did not immediately respond when asked to comment on the settlement.

Seau, a 12-times Pro Bowl linebacker who spent the bulk of his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers, died in May 2012 after shooting himself in the chest at his beachfront house in his hometown of Oceanside, California.

A study by a team of independent researchers released the following year found that Seau, 43, had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that can only be definitively diagnosed through an autopsy.

In 2016, a federal appeals court approved a settlement between the NFL and a class of 5,000 former players over brain injuries, but the Seau family had opted out in order to pursue their individual action against the league.

Seau retired from the game in 2010 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis

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