Former NFL players sue league over painkillers

May 20, 2014, 5:34 PM

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More than 500 former NFL players are going after the league for its prescription of high-dose painkillers which are, years later, causing health complications.

While the players admit that the drugs helped to keep them playing the game, the serious health issues they now yield are worthy of litigation, according to the plaintiff group.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the litigious part contends that “team doctors dispensed drugs illegally, without obtaining prescriptions or warning of the possible side effects.”

The players raise horrific claims — that they were never told of broken bones and instead given drugs while one ex-athlete alleges that he was steered away from surgery and instead given anti-inflammatory drugs while he was excused from practices so he could compete in games. A large contingent of the players involved in the lawsuit say they retired from the league addicted to painkillers.

As pointed out by the report, the litigation comes in the wake of a nearly-billion dollar settlement with players who were suing the NFL for concussion damages.

The case comes less than a year after the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle lawsuits from thousands of retired players who accused it of concealing the risks of concussions. A federal judge has yet to approve the settlement, expressing concern the amount is too small.

The athletes in the concussion case blamed dementia and other health problems on the bone-crushing hits that helped lift pro football to new heights of popularity.

The new lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco and names eight players as plaintiffs, including three members of the NFL champion 1985 Chicago Bears: quarterback Jim McMahon, Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent and offensive lineman Keith Van Horne.

More than 500 other former players have signed on, according to lawyers, who are seeking class-action status for the case. Six of the plaintiffs also took part in the concussion-related litigation, including McMahon and Van Horne.

The NFL knew of the debilitating effects of these drugs on all of its players and callously ignored the players’ long-term health in its obsession to return them to play,” the players’ attorney, Steven Silverman, said.

Jeremy Newberry, a former NFL center, provides one list of symptoms related to the excessive use of painkillers: kidney failure, high blood pressure and violent headaches.

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Former NFL players sue league over painkillers