Five Former Players for Chiefs Sue Team Because of Long-Term Concussion Injuries
On Tuesday, December 3rd, five former players for the Kansas City Chiefs filed a lawsuit alleging that their team knew about the dangers of concussions and traumatic brain injury, including long-term, and neglected to take appropriate measures to protect their players.
The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of former players Leonard Griffin, Chris Martin, Joe Phillips, Alexander Louis Cooper and Kevin Porter, all of whom played on defense between 1987 and 1993. It seeks more than $15,000 in both actual and punitive damages – a small amount of money compared to the recent concussion lawsuit settled by the NFL with thousands of former players. However, these five players opted out of the multimillion dollar settlement with the NFL at large.
The former footballers claim to suffer long-term consequences of multiple concussions sustained while they played for the Kansas City Chiefs, and also claim that the team hid and even lied about the risks of concussions to players. Instead of instituting better safety practices, stronger helmets, and more thorough medical checks, the Chiefs, according to the lawsuit, chose to ignore decades of research about the seriousness of concussions and traumatic brain injury, and instead chose to refer to head injuries as “getting your bell rung” or a “ding.”
“Every time I would get a head injury I would stay in or come to the side and get smelling salts and go back in,” Chris Martin said. “The pressure was there. If you were first team, you got all the reps.”
“I would have liked to have the opportunity to know that going back on the field would cause me to have severe disabilities later in life,” Martin said. “I didn’t know that. That’s what the lawsuit is about.” Martin was a linebacker for the Chiefs from 1988 to 1993. He claims that he was not properly informed about the dangers of continuing to play after sustaining a concussion.
Because workers compensation laws differ by state across the country, it is unknown if other former professional football players will continue to file local and state-level concussion injury lawsuits in order to supplement other income that goes to medical bills.
In August of this year, the NFL agreed to settle the personal injury concussion lawsuits of 4,500 former professional football players to the tune of $765 million. While that seems like a large sum of money, plaintiffs’ attorney Kevin McClain says that it is not sufficient to help these severely-injured players.
“All they’re going to be is monitored over time, but no relief will be offered to them,” McClain said. “It’s really a very small amount of money if you do the math. It’s paid out over 20 years, it’s $765 million total. It’s a little under $20 million a year the teams are contributing to these very severely injured people. It’s not very much money.”
The Concussion Injury Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or concussion due to an automobile accident, neglected sports injury, or a defective product, it is not too late to get help. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer free consultations to discuss the incident that led to traumatic brain injury and determine if you have a personal injury case. Contact us today. 803.252.4800.