By Al Jazerra America and Associated Press
Five former football players filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday, claiming that the team’s management hid information and even lied to players about the risks of head injuries. The suit is the latest in a string of legal actions taken against the National Football League (NFL) and other professional sports leagues over the impact of head injuries sustained in sports.
The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court in Missouri on behalf of former players Leonard Griffin, Chris Martin, Joe Phillips, Alexander Louis Cooper and Kevin Porte, who played on the team between 1987 and 1993, a period when there was no collective bargaining agreement in place in the NFL.
The lawsuit seeks more than $15,000 in actual and punitive damages. All five players have opted out of a $765 million dollar settlement with the NFL announced in August that would compensate more than 4,500 former football players for their head injuries.
The Kansas City plaintiffs are allegedly suffering from post-concussion syndrome and latent brain disease because of multiple concussions they sustained while playing for the Chiefs. They also allege to be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can be definitively diagnosed only by examining the brain after death.
In recent years, a string of former NFL players and other athletes who suffered concussions have been diagnosed with CTE after their deaths. They included linebacker Junior Seau and safety Ray Easterling, who both committed suicide.