A “master complaint” filed in Philadelphia on Thursday seeks to bring together more than 80 pending lawsuits that accuse the NFL of hiding information that links football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries.
Various players who have left the NFL have since fallen victim to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions for which they hope to hold the NFL responsible. Some of the player involved in the lawsuit are asymptomatic but hope to receive better medical monitoring in the future at the NFL’s expense.
In a statement released on Thursday morning the NFL denied any cover-up on the leagues part.
“The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit,” the league said. “It stands in contrast to the league’s actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.”
In the lawsuit the plaintiffs write:
“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.”
“Despite its knowledge and controlling role in governing player conduct on and off the field, the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem.”
Among those involved in the lawsuit are the family of Dave Duerson, a former NFL player who shot himself last year and 1985 Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon who played with Duerson during the Bears Super Bowl season.
The lawsuit claims that even after forming a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in 1994 the NFL continued to ignore complaints regarding headaches, dizziness and dementia.