More than 100 more former players join concussion suit

Getty Images

Every week it seems another group of former NFL players joins the lawsuit against the league for concealing the risks of concussions and/or failing to do enough to protect players from said risks.

Today, Hausfeld LLP announced that its existing 100-plus-player lawsuit has added another 100-plus players, pushing the total to 216.  (Hundreds of other players have also filed suit.)

The lead plaintiff was and still is Brent Boyd (pictured), a former offensive linemen and (according to the lawsuit) the only living player who has been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, a brain condition arising from repeated blows to the head.

The amended complaint includes among it total plaintiffs the following players:  Lem Barney, John Banaszak, Steve Bartkowski, John Cappelletti, Joe DeLamielleure, Conrad Dobler, Ken Easley, Joe Ferguson, Mel Gray, Randy Gradishar, Cliff Harris, Paul Krause, Bruce Laird, Rod Martin, Mike Merriweather, Tommy Nobis, Fred Smerlas, Phil Villapiao,

“Each of these NFL retirees, regardless of their age, position, or tenure in the NFL, has suffered significantly as a result of the NFL’s conduct,” said lawyer Rich Lewis in a news release from the firm.  “For too long, the players who have made the game what it is today have been neglected by the NFL, and now they need sophisticated medical treatment.  This lawsuit seeks to hold the NFL accountable and provide former players with the medical care that they deserve.”

That quote will do little to change the minds of those who believe that, for a certain number of the former players, the claims arise from the belief that the modern NFL hasn’t done enough to take care of the men on whose shoulders the current custodians of the game currently are standing.  Ultimately, however, the plaintiffs will need proof — proof of liability and proof of actual harm.  Though it’s unclear how Boyd was diagnosed with a brain condition that requires analysis of brain tissue, the fact that Boyd has the condition could mean that others will need to show that they have it, too.

Regardless, the concussion lawsuits will continue to be filed, and with each new filing the former players who have yet to join the effort may inch closer to doing the same thing.

46 responses to “More than 100 more former players join concussion suit

  1. not having bounty programs and paying team mates to hurt each other, might help too. Can’t have it both ways Drew Brees…

  2. thanks for ruining the modern game for us guys!
    I guess the line of thinking is that they helped build it up to what it is now, so let’s ruin it and see if can get free medical care. either they weren’t smart enough w/their money or didn’t really plan for life after the NFL. i can’t stand them acting like they were unaware of concussion risks…

  3. Let’s see…. according to Sports Illustrated 78% of NFL players file for bankruptcy within two years of retirement.
    Am guessing that has something to do with this story.

  4. Add Rae Carruth to the suit, and then he will have a reason to appeal his conviction. I wasn’t right in the head judge. Rae Rae’s coming home.

  5. The bigger question is how do they prove the damage didn’t happen in Pop Warner, High School or College Football?

    Do you really think the level of protective equipment is better at the lower levels of football?

  6. Im suing the cookie companies… I knew they can make me fat, but I had no idea that being fat could lead to more serious health concerns! How dare they! I want my millions!

  7. Conrad Dobler, the self-proclaimed dirtiest player in football?

    Loved his book. Surprised to see his name here.

  8. I don’t agree with this lawsuit at all. I am not sure the motivation, & I hope it is for good reasons to prevent this happening in the future… because this “diagnosis” is borderline, & I am not convinced that there is enough evidence to say much more than there “may” be an association. This has all spawned from post-mortem analysis, but that says nothing about the possible confounding variables or pathophysiology of the injury. The medical attention to concussions has only evolved relatively recently, so how can the NFL be held responsible for something that was not part of the literature? Much like smoking, the understanding was not there about potential long term adverse effects, & subsequently corrective action has been taken. I feel for the players, but this should be based on raising awareness for the present & future, because the past is not subject to change. Many former players are walking around with terrible pain from arthritis in their knees/hands etc as a result of football… should the league be responsible for that too? Just a question…

  9. What a money grab. How about use your college degree handed to you to make money? No sympathy for these guys at all. Are they suing their colleges also? How about the Pop Warner team they played for? Maybe I should sue my employer because sometimes I need to take ibuprofen for body aches. These guys should be ashamed considering some of our military is coming home missing limbs and suffering from psd. Money grab

  10. I love it, Goddell wanted to force this convuluted scheme of a “bounty” down the public’s throat, now you get the chance to shallow. I hope the NFL has to pay “big time”.

  11. I’ve been saying it…. These guys did indeed help fashion the game into the juggernaut it is currently. They were paid a fair wage for there time. You cannot tell me they were unaware of the risks. I, and hopefully not you fair reader, am not that nieve. This money-grab is ridiculous. As I’ve previously stated the NFL should take care of the former players medically because it’s the right thing to do and not because they have to.

    They wanna milk the current popularity of the game for their own benefit. This is about greed, plain and simple.

  12. I can’t believe any judge would listen to one player that CHOOSE to play football for the big bucks knowing it wasn’t going to be two hand touch.

  13. Was there ever a player who actually played a season in the NFL who DID NOT get a concussion.

  14. It is not a money grab. all you morons should spent a week in there shoes. You would want to kill yourself. The sleepless nights, the constant ringing in your ears. The pain in your neck that goes all the way down to your fingers. Same thing in your lower back and legs., h
    The thought in your head that the only way to stop all of this is a bullet. Luckily for most guys the voices in there heads talk them out of that. You people sit in this message board and say these guys are ruinnig the game…..THIS GAME HAS DESTROYED MANY MENS LIVES. Shame on you posters. Go follow one of these guys and check their quality of life.

  15. I have mixed feelings about this.

    First, as a player in high school and college, I knew there was a risk of injury at any time. And it happened, leaving me with bad knees and a lot more. I knew all of that going in. So did every other person that ever put on pads.

    But, the long term brain injuries that these and many other players are horrific. Men in their 50s-60s with the mental capacity of 90 year old men. They didn’t know those risks. And I bet the league did. I am sure that a lot of buried brain studies will turn up. It is always the cover up that matters. At the least, the NFL should greatly expand their health care coverage for those suffering these injuries. And drastically increase testing and monitoring ALL players. Current, and retired.

  16. This case won’t hold water because:

    1.)Medical evidence of concussion effects in the later parts of life is relatively new. No one could have known the effects concussions could have before the medical scientists knew.

    2.)To get to the NFL, you usually have to play years of football in Pop Warner/Mighty Mite, High School and the NCAA. Concussions can and most certainly do happen at every level of football. The major difference being that the NFL actually paid you to play where as the lower leagues usually require you to pay to play. (You can count college if you consider a college degree and/or illegal benefits payment).

    You can’t sue Deer Park because their water is wet. Whether from the tap, bottle or ocean, water has always been wet; football has always been violent.

  17. I had a concussion running into a basketball post at school on the playground. had another one getting thrown from my minibike, and another one slipping on ice getting off the school bus.

    if this lawsuit sets a precedence, I should probably sue everybody

  18. People complain about the new hitting rules. But all these players suing the NFL are further proving why the rules are necessary. Even if you know the risk of injury.

  19. I agree with SeanX 40. The NFL needs to establish long term rehab and medical solutions to br provided to explayers to wit player (not worker) compensation funds. Lifetime Member Club and take care of their own. No greed in that, rather, necessity

  20. Not to make light of concussions, but imagine if a group of retired NHL players sued the league because of breathing problems resulting from broken noses. The NFL is a contact sport- heads get banged; guys get hurt; sometimes guys are unfortunately concussed. Short of eliminating contact and making it flag football, these injuries will occur. However, the league should provide the health care its retired players need in their golden years.

  21. They want it both ways. They cry about the NFL and Goodell for making trying to make the league soft….and then sue them after the fact because the game was too hard.


  22. You know, they all could have become rocket scientists right? They did choose a very dangerous job. I don’t sue my company just because they didn’t tell me my job would be stressful.

  23. Actually, 150 players joined the lawsuit. But because of past concussions, the other 50 don’t remember doing it…

  24. As the problem has been defined, corrective action has been undertaken, & it is appropriate to the situation. The pendulum swings both ways, & the current philosophy of the NFL on concussions, is perfectly reasonable. Football is still voluntary participation, & the inherent risks are somewhat obvious. 1 could surmise that Mohammad Ali developed Parkinson’s Dz likely from repetitive blunt head trauma, & they would probably be correct to some extent… but that could never be proven, & it is a leap of intuition. The best you can do is learn from the past, & try to anticipate the future.

  25. The lead plaintiff was and still is Brent Boyd (pictured), a former offensive linemen and (according to the lawsuit) the only living player who has been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, a brain condition arising from repeated blows to the head.

    I feel sorry for the guy but … did he play in college? High school? Grade school? Yet he expects money from the NFL? Why, because they have the deepest pockets? I guess he never understood that repeated blows to your head could be detrimental to your health. At least he didn’t understand it while he was collecting his paychecks.

  26. jackm79 says:Apr 11, 2012 8:04 PM

    It is not a money grab. all you morons should spent a week in there shoes. You would want to kill yourself. The sleepless nights, the constant ringing in your ears. The pain in your neck that goes all the way down to your fingers. Same thing in your lower back and legs., h
    The thought in your head that the only way to stop all of this is a bullet. Luckily for most guys the voices in there heads talk them out of that. You people sit in this message board and say these guys are ruinnig the game…..THIS GAME HAS DESTROYED MANY MENS LIVES. Shame on you posters. Go follow one of these guys and check their quality of life.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??? These men were not forced to play the game. They made the choice because they were better compensated than they otherwise would have been. Save your sympathy for those who were or currently are on some battlefield actually risking life and limb so you can sit on your pompous fat a$$ and type that gibberish you’ve just put out.

  27. bankrupt or not, some of these guys have MAJOR medical problems in their lives, which stem from entertaining us and playing football.
    NO ONE posting here has the slightest knowledge of what the NFL doctors, coaches, and staff knew about research, diagnosis and ongoing problems related to repeated blows to the head. Maybe not much or maybe a lot more than they’ve led everyone to believe.
    You people crying “money grab, money grab” have no idea what you’re talking about.

    jackm79, has it right;
    read up on Ted Johnson’s life post NE Pats- he is a complete mess, and I know it ain’t just him suffering…

  28. Ted Johnson:) I don’t know him as a person, & I wish him well, but depression is almost as common as a cold, to those actually paying attention. To make that connection is a jump, & I would suggest that it is more complicated than that.

  29. HELP!!! some uninformed people, took over the “comments” at end of this article…please rally to the truth and stand up for NFL retirees? We had NO IDEA that we would have post-concussion/CTE damage- the NFL players of 20-30 years b4 us when we played in the 1960’s-80’s did not have these problems, they did not play on concrete disguised by a quarter inch of green plastic called “ASTRO-TURF”(we didn’t even rate carpet padding!!!) -we only knew we would walk away w/ a limp, bad knees and orthopedic problems…the helmet was designed and taught to us to use as a weapon, but turns out it is only designed to stop skull fractures, not concussions…NFL knew, didn’t tell us…do any of these idiots think we signed up for dementia/early Alzheimer’s…for $10K-$25K or less?..these same posters also believed the tobacco co’s as they openly lied about what they knew about cancer…how many players have committed suicide due to concussions? we read every week or two, and scroll down DIGNITYAFTERFOOTBALL’s facebook page for news of another suicide just yesterday! it a “money grab” when the NFL knew and did not tell us, that we would not recognize our wives in our age 50’s, can’t use the restroom by ourselves, have NO semblance to our natural gregarious old personalities? shame on these knucklehead posters who are just pissed we might be ruining their Sunday morning beer drinking time, it’s all about THE PARTY to us, it’s very real, it’s life and death as shown again yesterday, it’s not recognizing loved amount of money could have convinced us that 4 or 5 figure salaries when we played was worth all this (same morons who make the “they knew what they were getting into” argument also are easily confused and think we all made Peyton Manning money in the 1960’s-80’s- guys had 2nd and 3rd jobs back then to pay bills, played football 4 fun and love of the game. Thanks Mike for covering, please stay on this story, it truly is tragic, unexpected becuz we were told (ordered) that helmets would prevent ANY long term effects, and guys are dropping left and right, in spite of these people’s wish to party w/o their conscience bothering them…God Bless you all, Brent Boyd (Vikings 1980-86, UCLA)

  30. OK all you lawyer wannabes: And others of you with corporate experience.

    When is the last time a business voluntarily took care of it’s employees who were injured during the course of their employment?

    Hmmm – lets see: I believe the mines were the first, then the mills – and what – now the NFL is voluntarily sharing it’s huge wealth with those that went before and paved the way for today’s huge paydays/great entertainment.

    Sure – the Billionaire owners will gladly hand out some of their largesse to take care of the medical problems of the former players. Just ask a bunch of the way old time players how much they have been helped.

    Ya know. It’s not like the NFL can’t afford to do more.


  31. Oh yes, I forgot wannabe Doctors. As one who played football first in grade school, then high school and college – and had buddies who played in the pros – each level had much harder hits – and the NFL left everybody concussed at some time or another, in fact probably concussed a number of times.

    Hey – I remember playing a game in college where I had a good first quarter (long catch, good tackle behind the line – went both ways when “men were men” )- and then mid-way through the 4th quarter – asked in the huddle – how long to halftime, as I needed a blow. 🙂

  32. And YOU tomsd1, a message board business man dictating what these owners can and can’t afford because they’re billionaires. Did they become billionaires BEFORE OR AFTER football? Why should the fact that they had money enough to buy a team mean they should have there wealth taken away on one business venture?

    The reality is the NFL will never survive the cost structure if the BILLIONS paid in player salaries over the last 50 years isn’t enough and now soft money needs to be added on top to pay off every lawsuit. There is no way any contact sport will survive the cost.

    It’s hilarious that you can still trot out the old, worn out management/labor issues and apply it here. Half of the BILLIONS the NFL makes has to go out in salaries, and yet it’s not enough. Multi-millionaires being clamped down on by the “billionaire man”. I think there’s more than enough out of the players’ end to make a provision for possible long term effects. But then again those bottles of Cristal in the VIP rooms don’t buy themselves. It’s made all the more laughable that there is a direct correlation between the time the taxpayers started to get soaked to subsidize sports and when player salaries began to balloon.

    As for the old guys before the money skyrocketed? They should get a cut of the model today when they haven’t contributed to it? Even the layer of equity that came into being during their tenure has been distributed and disappated. Just exactly whom do they sue? If the burden is placed on the modern NFL, it simply will come out of the pocket of the current consumer.

    Again, in short, if the burden of cost is put on the owners and the consumers, the NFL will not be able to continue, in which case The Goose Laying The Golden Eggs will up and die.

  33. I think some people are getting caught up with preconcieved notions about what a pro athlete/retired athlete is.

    Imagine a mine owner telling its employees, the miners, that they studied the dangers of coal dust inhalation and found it to not be a long term health risk….

    Fast forward to lots of lung and breathing complications, is the mine owner free of guilt?

    The NFL only admitted the risks of concussion AFTER the legal fallout became an imminent issue! Don’t hate the NFL, it’s a buisness and is (rightly or wrongly) guided by the bottom line. But don’t hate the players either, they were lied to and are pissed!

  34. sept: Well said and my point is there are a lot fewer NFL alumns than mine workers – and the NFL is still making Billions – so why not help out the former players – especially those who really need it?

    Had the NFL been more pro-active – the blood sucking lawyers might not have gotten involved, but that’s what it is now.

    From a “reformed- recovering” blood sucker. 🙂

  35. And btw tool-less: The NFL is making (net) Billions today – repeat – Billions – so they can surely afford to cover the former players and have plenty of Golden Eggs left over. Do DA Math!!!

    Actually – the NFLPA have been a bunch of greedy bastards also. They should be helping out their predecessors much more than they are. Back in the 60’s for example – they made piddlings compared to today’s players.

  36. And good for you footballwivesandlovedones . You said it better than anyone could have. I will check out the webpage. What’s so amazing is I still have friends who played in the NFL who aren’t doing too badly – and then others who you never know when it will hit. I saw former Raider/long time NFLPA Pres Gene Upshaw up at Lake Tahoe a few months before he passed – and he looked great – fit and trimmer than ever – and then – boom – he was gone. Such a shame.

  37. thanks again Mike Florio-
    just FYI for Mike and everybody- his list of retired players included in Boyd v NFL is missing many big names, such as former NFL MVP JOE KAPP, ROMAN GABRIEL, JIM OTTO, COTTON DAVIDSON, LANCE ZENO and more..

    thanks to all with the wisdom to support us…it could be YOU next in your career…disability contracts are there for our peace of mind, a safety net- and the NFL spends millions each year (paid out of our OWN RETIREMENT FUND!!!) to deny all benefits- ONLY FOUR (4) concussion related claim approvals in the history of this most violent sport since the gladiators…this is about billionaires bilking taxpayers and retired players and buying justice by overtly corrupt and fraudulent means in court and Congress…like war criminals, they feel smug in their invincability, but then finally see a fair courtroom that they cannot buy off…
    be well everyone,
    Brent Boyd

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.