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Football players file brain injury class action suit against NFL

Last month, we wrote about the California personal injury lawsuit filed by 75 former professional football players against the National Football League. In their suit, the players alleged that NFL officials negligently ignored and willfully concealed information about the potential long-term impact of multiple head injuries, only changing their tune after a 2009 Congressional committee ordered them to take head trauma more seriously.

Now, one current and six former NFL players have filed a second lawsuit against the league. In the suit, the players accuse the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct for its response (or lack thereof) to players' reports of headaches, dizziness, confusion and dementia following head injuries.

Specifically, the players allege that NFL officials and coaches trained players to hit with their heads, failed to properly treat them for concussions and refused to remove them from play following potential head injuries. In addition, the league is accused of concealing the links between football and brain injuries for several decades.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to fund the medical care of injured players. Currently, some of the plaintiffs receive funding from the league and the players' union to pay for medical care for dementia or other brain afflictions that arise from football head injuries. The plaintiffs allege, however, that the funds received under this program are insufficient to pay for their significant medical costs.

While the claims between this lawsuit and the earlier California suit are very similar, the cases are procedurally very different. The most recent lawsuit is seeking class action status, which means that any former professional football player who has suffered a concussion or other head injury could join the suit as a plaintiff and receive a portion of any damage award.

The NFL has not commented on the lawsuit.

Source: ABC News, "Current, Former Players Sue NFL Over Concussions," MaryClaire Dale, August 18, 2011

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