NEW YORK (AP) — Former NFL players Christian Ballard and Gregory Westbrooks are suing the union for not providing accurate information about the risk of head injuries.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, with both claiming the NFL Players Association “withheld information from the players about the risks of head injuries.”
The former players are seeking medical monitoring and financial compensation for long-term chronic injuries, financial losses, expenses and intangible losses. It refers to the “pathological and debilitating effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) caused by concussive and sub-concussive impacts.”
Ballard and Westbrooks named former union presidents Trace Armstrong, Troy Vincent and Kevin Mawae in the suit.
“This lawsuit has no merit and we will defend our union and our past presidents,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “It erroneously alleges that the NFLPA knowingly and fraudulently concealed from players the risks of head injuries players faced by playing in NFL games and practices over the last several decades.
“The NFLPA has made the health and safety of its members a priority and the advancements in professional football on concussion education, prevention and treatment are a result of our efforts.”
Ballard, a defensive end in 2011 and 2012, left the Vikings last September. Coincidentally, he is being represented by the union in a grievance concerning about $240,000 in 2013 salary that he collected but the team is trying to recoup.
Westbrooks, now 61, played parts of seven seasons from 1975-81 as a linebacker and special teamer with four clubs.