Ex-Players Sue NFL Over Use of Painkillers

May 20, 2014
 In this Oct. 7, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama, left, looks towards quarterback Jim McMahon, wearing headband, as he honors the 1985 Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears football team during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. A group of retired NFL players, including McMahon, says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, May 20, 2014, that the league illegally supplied them with risky painkillers that numbed their injuries and led to medical complications.
PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS / AP FILE PHOTO

  1. ABC News  May 20, 2014
    Opening another legal attack on the NFL over the long-term health of its athletes, a group of retired players accused the league in a lawsuit ..
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28 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dave Pear
    May 20th, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    The Raiders gave me percodan and shots in the neck with needles and insisted I play with a herniated disc in my neck for over 2 years. They said that I was a hypochondriac. The pain was extreme and constant and never went away. In 1981 I went on my own to the Stanford Medical center (after the Raiders owner Al Davis cut and released me from the team) and the doctor drilled the bulging disc out of my neck with a finger drill after smashing and beating it with a hammer. The Raiders never paid one penny for this neck surgery. NOTHING!

    I have a copy of this painful surgery report.

    Dave Pear
    Pro Bowl 1978
    Super Bowl XV

  2. Dalva Allen
    May 20th, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    I also played for the Raiders with a broken neck but i was told it was a pinched nerve & didn’t find out until i lost the use of my right arm & had it operated on at my expence. This all happened in the early days days 1962. Dalva Allen

  3. Lionel James
    May 21st, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    How do you add your name to the suit?

  4. leo
    May 21st, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    You would have to be insane to play in nfl after reading all these injury storys, same goes for boxing. Maybe do sports like that for a few years then get out. Nobody wants to end up like mike webster or ali…the nfl said years ago football does not cause concussions and water is not wet either.

  5. Tom goode
    May 23rd, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Yes! How do u get included in the suit?

  6. rRon Pritchard
    May 23rd, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Gentlemen, if you want to join this lawsuit, call Phillip Closuis. He is a lawyer with the Steve Silverman Law Office out of Baltimore. 419-344-4810. I am a name planiff in this suit. These guy’s are the group that filed this suit on Tuesday the 20th,2014. They are partner’s with the Mel Owen’s Law Group. Do not hesitate, act now!

  7. rRon Pritchard
    May 23rd, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    correction, suit filed on 20th of this month.

  8. Jeremy newberry
    May 23rd, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    http://www.nfldrugclassaction.com/
    Here is the website of the original law firm that filed. The eight named plantiffs have the right to veto any unacceptable deal.
    Jeremy newberry
    49ers Raiders Chargers
    1998-2009.

  9. Troy Johnson
    May 23rd, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    I took so many shots and took so many pills for pain and I never knew what I was taking. If they could have just taken better care of the retired players, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess!!!!
    God Bless to all retired players….

  10. HENRY BRADLEY
    May 23rd, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    I had 4 to 6 shots in my knee in 1982, the last shot I receive cause my knee and leg to swell up twice the normal size. The pain was so great that they gave me pain medication to take during the night. They put me in a hotel room, because I couldn’t drive. I ask them why did it swell up, and they didn’t know. However, they never took me to the hospital. After the season was over, I talked to a Doctor in San Diego that told me my knee was gone. He also told me that, I never should receive that many shots in a year. I suffer from PTSD because of that and the brain Injury. Its about time the NFL is held accountable.

  11. Joe S
    May 23rd, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    PASS IT ON, PASS IT ON, PASS IT ON….Retired NFL Players want $800 MILLION A YEAR for 20 years to a type of “mutual fund” in the form of a CO-OP Healthcare Organization or a nonprofit health insurance issuer incorporated FOR retired players, we can name it “NFL Retired Players Insurance” or “NFLRPI, Inc”. Each past player, their wives, children, partner, etc will have a “stock” or equity interest in the non-profit organization. ACTIVE players will also have an opportunity to have equity interests with mandatory contractual percentages invested for retirement. The NFL will have an interest in the non-profit but the managing equity interest WILL ALWAYS be maintained by the players AND selected board members. The PUBLIC will have an opportunity to be insured and hold various policies under “NFLRPI, Inc.” as well as other financial instruments. “NFLRPI, Inc.” will insure high-risk entities and individuals domestically and internationally; within analysis…..there it is…the BIG PLAN…..PASS IT ON….PASS IT ON…PASS IT ON….

  12. Joe S
    May 23rd, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    Also….all the pain pills and pain killers we took masked any signs of repetitive trauma to the head…as well the body. The painkillers traveled everywhere in each of our bodies….

  13. Joe S
    May 23rd, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    In addition…more lawsuit are coming….a person does NOT have to be dead to determine whether or not his cerebral spinal fluid or BRAIN contains Tau Proteins. Samples can be taken from an active player via a SPINAL TAP and using a ELISA Tau Protein kit….the ELISA Tau Protein kit has been around since 1993 or if not longer….not sure….PASS IT ON!

  14. TheMorningStar
    May 24th, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Here is but another player who bore witness to the league cover up:

    http://audio.weei.com/hosting/media/weei/1598198/05-23-14-dc-cronan.mp3

  15. TheMorningStar
    May 24th, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Simply barbaric what these team doctors allowed to go on. What about a certain ‘oath’ all MD’s are supposed to follow??!

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/columnists/ron_borges/2014/05/borges_latest_suit_adds_to_pain_for_nfl

  16. TheMorningStar
    May 24th, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    How they (the owners and league) could have players both play games AND practice on this ‘fuzzy concrete’ is just awful:

    http://mmqb.si.com/2014/05/21/nfl-history-95-objects-artificial-turf/?mobile=no

  17. Cyril Pinder
    May 24th, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    I broke three ribs at the old. Astrodome and had Dr. Fox administer Novacain to the area so that I could continue to play.

    CP

  18. RICK HAYES
    May 25th, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    Aloha Dave:
    As you know, I had a Cervical Fusion at Harborview Hospital after I fractured my neck my Junior Year at the University of Washington. My Senior Year I played with a Fused Cervical Spine, starting the first game.

    I believe I was the first player to have this procedure and return to play in College or the NFL in 1972. Only later did I discover that the NFL, which had me rated as the # 2 Tackle in the Country following my Junior Year and prior to the operation, was very involved in following the procedure due to the number of Players in the NFL having ” STINGERS ” in their League. In fact after Legal Depositions in my Lawsuit against the L.A. Rams, did we discover the UW was sharing my medical information with the League in this pursuit. Basically, I was being used as a ” Guinea Pig ” for the Owners concern over the number of neck injuries being suffered by Players in the NFL.

    In hindsight, I should have given up the game as advised by Dr. Garrick, our Team Physician, but it was always my goal and dream to play in the NFL. I basically was crazy, and have no one to blame but myself – but I was 21 years old and the Harborview Doctor’s were convinced I could continue my dream after their procedure, a C6-7 Fusion, with the bone graph taken out of my hip.

    I was able to play on, while losing multiple rounds in the NfL Draft due to my injury and hiding from showing any symptoms of the injury. I had a mentality if I died or turned into a parapalegic , so be it – but part of me was scared as hell. When you are 21 yeas old we all think we are immortal. Now, I just think I was stupid.

    The irony is after being drafted down the board by the NFL, mostly due to my injuries and their interest in following my procedure for the many players suffering from the same symptoms I was having and using me as their original ” Guinea Pig” , the team Doctor for the Rams, Dr. Kerlan, refused to even acknowledge my operation on my team physical, perform any x-rays of the fusion, ask me any questions concerning the injury, or examine the continuing nerve damage in my arms and neck.

    As with any fusion, the stress of contact and head hunting, caused me to fracture C4-5 while with the Rams. I broke 16 helmets my Junior Year with the UW. After a game I mentioned to Dr. Kerlan I had suffered a “Stinger” during the game. He refused to examine me or send me for x-rays and cleared me for the following Monday Sweat Pant’s walk through practice. The next day I was asked to go see Chuck Knox. He was hung over from the night before and shaving nude in the bathroom. He gave me the news and I proceeded to tell him off in a way I had never talked to a Coach before in my life. I verbally dressed him up and down. I immediately drove to the NFLPA’s Independent neurologist Physician, who did an exam with x-rays, and told me I had fractured my discs at C4-5.

    That is the example for the Mother’s of boys wanting to play in the NFL today. Send your sons to Basketball, Golf, Baseball, Tennis, or Soccer. They not only will make more money and have a longer athletic experience, but they will be able to walk and talk after they are in their 40’s. Mark Cuban is right. The NFL is a dying Sport for a variety of reasons, but primarily how they treat their Player’s and even worse, their Former Players.

    I have left out all my drug and knee draining stories as they have been shared above, but after 22 operations and 3 on the books, I wanted to get this story in print.

    Aloha to all Former Players,
    Rick Hayes

  19. Maurice Hurst
    May 25th, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    Awful story do you feel this law suit will get any traction. Maurice Hurst how the family been

  20. Ron Heller
    May 25th, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    How many guys were released surprisingly because of injury or given an injury settlement for a fraction of your salary? I had Micro-fracture surgery in early April, on crutches for 8 weeks, they push me to the field limping badly and then cut me.

    I lost my house and was out of the NFL while I rehabbed and signed the next year with the same team and started 12 games.

    These organizations are heartless.

  21. Robert Pena
    May 25th, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Can I get in on this ? I got shot with cortisone numerous times.

    Robert Pena

  22. john niland
    May 25th, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    The team [doctors and trainers] gave out a little pill box at curfew the night before filled with all I needed to get thru tomorrows game. I was told they were uppers, pain pills, bennies, hearts, Novocaine shots administered before and at halftime [by the trainer] etc.
    If the guy across the scrimmage line looks like he was doing something and foaming at the mouth that day, he would kick your butt so you better be ready and took whatever they thought I needed from the pill box.

  23. Jay Brophy
    May 26th, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    I hear ya Ron, after being shot up in the off season 3-5 times in the groin and one one right above my penis for inflammation in my pelvic region? The doc for the Dolphins suggested I get my groin scoped to get scar tissue out, I’d be out just a couple of weeks. After surgery, and walking with a crutch, I started having a lot of pain, called the docs office and was told I had major surgery to repair a torn tendon and muscle fibers and woul be out 6 to 8 weeks! Dolphins cut me after pre season then brought me back at a cheaper salary a week later, only to be released later in the season, as coach Shula put it “we didn’t think you’d be ready Broph” so they couldn’t keep me? I might of just been an average player, but the lying and deceit was BS! Still have groin problems till this day. Jay Brophy

  24. Ron Pritchard
    May 26th, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Men, keep telling your stories on this blog. It is time to put a stop to this kind of medical misbehavior. This is a huge moment in football history to secure a safer game for every level of this great game. But we must be willing to tell our story to the world of how it has been in the last five decade’s! Don’t lie or stretch the truth. Just tell your story, truth will stand on it’s own! It would be unkind and uncaring to the future generation’s of football player’s if we did not speak up against these terrible truth’s!

  25. HENRY BRADLEY
    May 27th, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    I was so angry about the way I was treated as a football player. I would like to thank Gregg Pruitt, for keeping me from playing with broken ribs. Although, I took the pain shot to play Gregg told me the ribs could puncture my heart. The Doctor never told me anything, he just cleared me to play. I had so many little brown envelopes with meds in them. I would also receive the envelopes when I went back to San Diego, CA. I was never told I was suppose to take food with them, therefore I can not take any kind of anti-inflammatory drugs because of the abuse.

  26. Roger Goodell handling of Jim Irsay situation bears watchingBig Online News | Big Online News
    May 27th, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

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  27. Ron Saul
    May 30th, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Played 4 games with a broken ac shoulder joint. Did not practice all week but told I was needed for the games. I was given pain pills to play the games and operated on after the season to fix the joint. I got my knee drained three times in a game against the Cowboys. Before the game 100cc shot up, taped up, and played the first half. At half time, removed the tape drained80cc from the knee was shot up, taped up and played the second half. After the game they drained not sure how many ccs off the knee and said see you tomorrow Saul. They operated on me at the end of the season. I had several knee ops. In Houston and lots of pain pills in my NFL career. When I was traded to Washington DR. Stan Levine flunked me on the physical but George Allen needed me to play. Stan said send him back to Houston and George asked me how I felt. I said ok and he said to Stan well he can play tonight against the Chiefs. From that day on when it came to physicals Stan would ask how my knees felt and pass me on the physical seven more years. I took lots of pain pills my whole career. In November 2012 I had my right knee replaced by DR. Engh. He said every shot left a tiny calcium spot in the area of the knee that he scraped off and he said that he was tired and decided to quit counting at around 45 or50. I have more but that’s for later.

  28. Craig Veasey
    May 30th, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    I can’t tell you how many shots I received at the Dolphins, because of back pain on Monday Mornings. All of a sudden they decided to not renew my contract. The next season at the Oilers, they drained my left knee in pregame of 12 of the 16 regular season games and filled it full of something. I have had 6 knee surgeries on that knee, and told that it will have to be replaced in the next 10 years, and I just received my at least 20th back injection because of the pain. Last September I had my 6th back surgery 2 of which have been fusions l3-S1