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Family of Junior Seau sues NFL over brain injury

Did brain injury cause suicide?

The recent news that the family of Junior Seau,the former Chargers linebacker who committed suicide in Oceanside last year, has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and athletic equipment-makers today highlights the risk of traumatic brain injury and the results of repeated hits to the head.

According to Seau’s son, prior to Seau committing suicide last May, Seau displayed a wide variety of common symptoms associated with a traumatic brain injury including depression, insomnia, mood swings and forgetfulness.

After the death an autopsy was also performed. It indicated that Seau did, in fact, suffer from a “debilitating brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is common to people who suffer repetitive head injuries.” A brain injury can be caused by  multiple concussions (experienced by many athletes) or injuries caused by blast injuries, often seen in combat veterans.

The wrongful death claim filed against the NFL contends that the NFL failed to provide adequate guidance for the safety of the players. The Seau family believes that the suicide was a direct result of the multiple brain injuries that Seau experienced over the course of his 20 year career with the NFL.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"]Junior Seau Junior Seau (Photo credit: Dave Sizer)[/caption]

According to the suit, the NFL “hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head and deliberately ignored and concealed evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuriy.”

The goal of the Seau family is to hopefully provide safer playing conditions for future generations of football players. The plaintiffs in the case include Seau’s children and his ex-wife, Gina Seau. The Seaus are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Brain injury

You may not be a football player and you may not have suffered multiple blows to the head but if you have a severe brain injury you may experience symptoms which are so severe you do not have the ability to perform work. Common causes of traumatic brain injury can include car and bike accidents, assaults, falls and blows to the head. Individuals who have a severe brain injury may have symptoms which are minor or severe.

Common symptoms of Brain Injury can include:

  1. Headaches

  2. Dizziness

  3. Vomiting

  4. Slurred speech

  5. Ringing in the ears

  6. Nauseous

  7. Forgetfulness

  8. Seizures

Winning SSDI for Brain Injury

If you are disabled and unable to work you will have to prove that your head injury is severe, it will last at least 12 continuous months and it does not allow you to work. Keep in mind, even if you have a severe head injury now, if it is expected to heal within 12 months you will not be considered disabled by the SSA. This is a common issue that many car accident victims experience. Although their condition does not allow them to work right now, they likely will be able to return to work within the year, and they will be denied SSDI by the SSA.

Make sure before you apply for SSDI benefits you get the proper medical treatment and have evidence of the severity of your condition including a MRI report, CT scans, X-rays, therapy notes, etc. Your medical information should clearly state your symptoms, the types of medications you are taking and why you are not able to work for eight hours a day, five days per week.
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