Former Tampa Bay offensive lineman Arron Sears is suing the Buccaneers and the NFL over health problems that he attributes to concussions suffered on the field, and the details of his lawsuit paint a bleak picture of his life at the age of 27.
Sears, who was taken in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft and started 31 games in his first two seasons, abruptly left the team in 2009 and never returned. He says his career ended because of neurological problems related to head trauma, and his lawsuit claims his parents now have to care for him because he can’t care for himself.
“Sears has almost total loss of function, is unable to care for himself and cannot take [care] of his day-to-day activities,” the lawsuit says, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Further, Arron Sears has extreme displays of temper and anger with the appurtenant risk of causing harm to himself and others.”
Those extreme displays of temper may have been on display in 2010 when Sears was arrested for battery on a police officer. A few months later he was found wandering in the middle of a Tampa street.
The question in the lawsuit will be whether Sears’ attorneys can demonstrate that his severe neurological problems really did stem from head trauma suffered in the NFL, and then whether they can demonstrate that the NFL and the Buccaneers misled him about the risks associated with head trauma. The league has consistently denied that it ever misled players and insists that it has always paid careful attention to player safety.
Whether the NFL is to blame or not, the story of Arron Sears, who once looked like a promising young player with plenty of potential, is the story of a very sad life.