As yet another former National Football League player files suit claiming a helmet maker failed to provide adequate protection to prevent his brain injuries, a group of professional athletes has organized a class action suit against the National Hockey League.
N.F.L. Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy Winner Paul Hornung filed suit last month in Chicago against helmet maker Riddell, claiming the plastic helmet he wore decades ago failed to protect him from brain trauma. Hornung, 80, suffered numerous concussions during his professional career and has been diagnosed with dementia, a neurodegenerative disease linked to repetitive head trauma.
Hornung was a running back for the Green Bay Packers from 1957 to 1966. In his complaint, Hornung asserted Riddell, the biggest sports helmet manufacturer in the country, “knew of the dangers of brain trauma more than 50 years ago, but failed to warn him and other players that their helmets would do nothing to prevent concussions.”
According to the suit, players were led to believe the innovative plastic helmets would offer more protection, “which emboldened them to take risks.”
Hornung's lawsuit seeks damages of at least $50,000 from Riddle.
According to the New York Times, Riddell is a co-defendant with the N.F.L. in a class-action lawsuit filed by thousands of former football players who accused the company and the league of hiding the dangers of concussions. In the class action, Riddell was able to separate its claims from the N.F.L., which has agreed to a settlement that could pay nearly $1 billion dollars to players with severe neurological disorders.
The class action suit brought by more than 100 players against the N.H.L. is similar to the suit against the N.F.L. in that it is based on the league failing to protect the hockey players from head injuries and from withholding information about the long-term effect of concussions.
The N.H.L. attempted to dismiss the suit by arguing protection from injuries should be addressed in the player's contracts and collective bargaining agreements rather than in court. N.H.L. officials also argued the players were aware or should have been aware of the risk involved in playing professional hockey. However, a U.S. District Court judge in Minnesota disagreed and in May allowed the case to go forward.
Concussions are not limited to professional sports. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 3.8 million concussions occur each year at all levels of the sport.
Every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation. If you or a loved one was harmed or died as a result of an injury or medical error, call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.