NFL faces another concussion lawsuit
Former Penn State running back Curt Warner joined about 70 other former NFL players in filing a lawsuit against the league Friday, claiming it didn't do enough to inform players about the dangers of head injuries or protect them from concussions in the past and isn't doing enough to take care of them today.
Warner, who ran for more than 6,000 yards after being taken by the Seattle Seahawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1983 draft, is among several hundred former players suing the league in federal court in Philadelphia. Lawyers involved say that number soon could reach more than 1,000.
What began last summer as a couple of cases with a handful of plaintiffs is growing week by week: Attorney Craig Mitnick, who has submitted several suits against the NFL, said he has been retained by other former players who have authorized him to put their names on future filings.
There is strength -- and symbolism -- in the continually rising numbers of former players taking the NFL to court over the issue of head injuries, they believe.
Among those in the new filing: Mark Rypien, a Super Bowl MVP and champion as a quarterback with the Washington Redskins; Golden Richards, who scored a touchdown in the Dallas Cowboys' 1978 Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos; A.J. Duhe, the 1977 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, probably best known for his three interceptions for the Miami Dolphins against the New York Jets in an AFC championship game; and Rypien's Redskins teammate Chip Lohmiller, the second-team All-Pro placekicker in 1991.
"If for some reason this doesn't go in favor of us, we've at least reached out and shown there's a group of concerned former athletes struggling with their own issues that wants to build awareness so that no one else has to go through what we're going through," Rypien said. "If that's the only thing we get out of this, that's a win. We can make some changes, so these guys (playing now) don't have to endure what some of us are enduring."
Rypien, 49, says his memory is failing and that he tape-records significant conversations with his girlfriend. "So we can go back ... when I vehemently say, 'I did not say that."' He suffers from depression, which Rypien finds particularly worrisome when he thinks about his cousin Rick, an NHL enforcer who faced that condition for years before committing suicide at age 27 in August.
"The common person will say, 'They knew what they were doing. They knew the risk that was involved.' And my answer is, 'Yes, so does every policeman and every fireman in the country. And they wouldn't face the same criticism that these ballplayers are facing.' ... They relied on the league as their medical experts, and the league withheld medical information that could have improved all of these guys' lives," Mitnick said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment Friday, other than to note that the cases are in "their very early stages."
The lawsuits began in the wake of a growing body of scientific evidence connecting repeated blows to the head and long-term brain damage. Most of the cases are now linked and before a judge in Philadelphia; the first procedural hearing is about a month away.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers re-sign WR Heyward-Bey to 1-year deal
- Steelers notebook: Team seek ease on West Coast travel
- Steelers notebook: Harrison return complicated by LeBeau, Titans
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell could move to replace Polamalu
- Tomlin eyes Steelers’ return to defensive success this season
- Tomlin expects Steelers offense to grow
- Steelers re-sign LB Harrison to 2-year deal
- Polamalu could be next in long line of Steelers greats given unceremonial exit
- Steelers’ Blake arrested in California
- Rooney not expecting much more out of free agency for Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Cornerback need will wait until draft