A federal judge approved Monday a preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by thousands of former NFL players against the National Football League over concussions. Take a look at NFL players who have died young, many from brain injuries related to hits on the field.
Junior Seau. On May 2, 2012, football great Seau was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 43. The cause of death was ruled to be a suicide and brought to light CTE, which is a progressive disease associated with repeated head trauma. Seau was a linebacker who spent 20 years in the NFL. He played for the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
Dave Duerson. In 2011, former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, 50, shot himself in the chest, leaving a suicide note donating his brain to science. Boston University pathologists found lesions in Duerson’s brain.
Ray Easterling. In 2012, Easterling, a former player for the Falcons, was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 62. Easterling was part of a group of players who are suing the NFL over head injuries. In 2011, Easterling was diagnosed with dementia.
Jovan Belcher. In late 2012, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher committed suicide in front of the team's coach and general manager at the training facility Saturday after killing his girlfriend in a separate shooting, Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp said.
Paul Oliver. A former San Diego Chargers defensive back, Oliver died from a self-inflicted gunshot in Marietta, Ga., on Sept. 24, 2013. He was 29 and said to be depressed over his release from the Chargers.
Chris Mims. The former lineman for the San Diego Chargers was found dead in 2008 in his Los Angeles apartment. He retired in 2000 and had extensive medical problems. The cause of death was an enlarged heart as Mims weighed 456 pounds at the time of his death.
Andre Waters. In 2006, Waters, who spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, was found in his house dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His brain issue was examined after his death and doctors believe that Waters sustained brain damage from playing football.
Jeff Alm. In 1993, 25-year-old former Houston Oilers defensive tackle fatally shot himself shortly after he crashed his car on an exit ramp because he was distraught over the death of his best friend. Alm was speeding and lost control of his car. His best friend was thrown from his car and killed.
Shawn Lee. Defensive tackle Shawn Lee, died in February of 2011 at the age of 44 from cardiac arrest brought on by double pneumonia. Lee had also been struggling with diabetes over the last several years. He played in Super Bowl XXIX for the Chargers (and played with them from 1992–97, and ended his career with the Chicago Bears.
O.J. Murdock. A reserve receiver for the Tennessee Titans, Murdock was found in 2012 in his car parked outside of the Tampa Bay high school he attended. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He was 25.
Doug Miller. A linebacker for the San Diego Chargers in the 1995 Super Bowl, Miller was killed when he was struck by lightning while camping on the Colorado River. He was 28. Miller was struck by lightning and was receiving CPR when a second bolt struck and killed him.
A photographer and former extreme water sports junkie, once strangers have now become friends and teammates. Both share the love for the Central Coast, and they are using that passion to help raise money for a good cause.