Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Thousands of football players team up against the National Football League (NFL). They say the League hid the dangers of brain injuries on the field. Now, some are paying with their lives.
The combined lawsuits have more than 3,000 plaintiffs that include retired players and family members of players who’ve died. The complaint alleges the NFL’s response to brain injuries is a “concerted effort of deception and denial.”
Meghan McCorkell has details on this mega lawsuit.
Hard hits on the football field.
“I tackled a lot of big men, so I got knocked out,” former Baltimore Colt Bruce Laird said.
He played in the NFL for 14 years and says he never knew the dangers he faced. Memory loss, depression and dementia are just some of the health problems now plaguing fellow players.
“I had no idea every time my bell was rung, or I felt dizzy or I saw stars or all that, that I was having a mini-concussion,” said Laird.
He says the recent suicides of former players Junior Seau and Ray Easterling bring the issue to the forefront.
Laird is now part of a master complaint against the NFL, claiming it knew the dangers of concussions and never told players.
The NFL says the claims are false. Its spokesperson Brian McCarthy said: “It stands in contrast to the League’s many actions to protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.”
The master complaint combines 80 lawsuits for pretrial.
Attorney Andrew Levy explains each case could get an individual settlement.
“We are talking about hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars,” he said.
For Laird, it’s not about the money.
“The end of the day will be medical monitoring and health care for these players,” he said.
He helped found the Fourth and Goal Foundation to draw attention to brain injuries.
Laird says he lived his dream playing. Now, he wants to make sure his family doesn’t have to live through a nightmare.
Attorneys for the NFL have until Aug. 9 to respond to the master complaint.
In 2010, the NFL formed a new head, neck and spine committee to investigate the impact of the game for players.