A group of ex-NFL players have jointly filed a lawsuit against 32 of their former teams for their conspiracies in pushing painkillers on them, disregarding the resultant health consequences and withholding information on the risk of their injuries, in a bid to keep them on the field for optimum performance, Los Angeles Times reports.
The lawsuit was filed last week Thursday 21st May at the Baltimore Federal Court. They alleged that their team’s doctors, trainers and medical personnels pushed the painkillers on them and withheld information on the nature and seriousness of their injuries.
It is no secret that many former athletes have suffered long term disability after they sustained injuries, but were pushed beyond their endurance limit to perform in the result driven system.
“This lawsuit alleges intentional activity by the teams, not negligence,” said Steve Silverman, a lawyer for the players. “It’s another part of a unified effort to provide healthcare and compensation to the thousands of former players who have been permanently injured or died as a result of playing professional football.”
One of the most common long term health consequence of American football is concussion.
Among the lists of 13 plaintiffs are Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Renfro of the Dallas Cowboys and Etopia Evans, the widow of Charles Evans, a running back who played eight years with the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens. Evans died of heart failure in October 2008 at age 41.
The suits claimed that they were often prescribed medication without knowing the type of drugs they were taking because it was never written. It was not mentioned in the lawsuits if the team’s doctors were under instruction from higher up to withhold information from the players, but it is widely presumed that the team’s management got this standing instructions.
In addition, the lawsuit accuses several former coaches and assistants of pressuring players to compete while injured. Former Miami Dolphins coaching great Don Shula, ex-Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes and former Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren were among those accused of warning players they could be cut if they didn’t use painkillers to play.
Los Angeles Times also reported that a similar lawsuit was dismissed by the San Francisco court last year with the understanding that using painkillers should be resolved in the collective bargaining agreement between NFL and the NFL players’ association.
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/Associated Press