Mega-Lawsuit Alleges NFL Hid Seriousness of Head Injuries

Lions Saints NFL Game Dec 4 - H 2011
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Lions Saints NFL Game Dec 4 - H 2011

A consolidation of 81 suits involving 2,138 former players seeks for the league pay for the medical care of retired players suffering from diseases linked to head-trauma sustained on the football field.

Thousands of NFL players who say they continue to suffer from brain injuries sustained on the football field are teaming to up seek compensation.

Eighty-one lawsuits involving 2,138 former players and their families have been consolidated into one master complaint against the National Football League, the Associated Press reports.

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The potentially costly suit alleges the NFL hid information about the risks and consequences of brain injuries from its players. It also seeks to make the league responsible for the medical care of players suffering from diseases linked to head-trauma, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

"The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result,'' the complaint reads.

It goes on to charge that the NFL “turned a blind eye” to the risks and failed to “impose safety regulations” that may have protected players. 

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The NFL responded with a statement saying it “has long made player safety a priority,” and that allegations the league mislead players were meritless. It also noted that through a partnership with the NFL Players Association, it has helped retired players by making mor than $1 billion in contributions to pensions, medical and disability benefits.

Kevin Turner, who played for the Patriots and Eagles as a running back and has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said the NFL “must open its eyes” to the consequences.

"For the longest time, about the first 10 years after I retired in January 2000, I thought I had just turned into a loser overnight,'' Turner told the AP. “It was a very scary proposition - until I found out there were a lot more guys just like me. I find they had been through some of the same struggles. I realized this is no longer a coincidence.''