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Helmet Maker Riddell Sued

Paul Hornung, a former NFL Hall of Famer for the Green Bay Packers and a former Heisman Trophy winner, has filed a law suit against equipment manufacturer Riddell Inc. asserting that the company knew of the dangers of brain trauma more than 50 years ago, but failed to warn him and other players that their helmets would do nothing to prevent concussions.

This civil law suit is separate from the current class action lawsuit against Riddell Inc. and the National Football League (NFL).

According to the civil suit, over his career, “Hornung suffered multiple concussions and has since been diagnosed with dementia and that the neurodegenerative disease has been linked to repetitive head trauma.” The complaint claims that “Riddell should have known that its plastic helmets, while helping to prevent skull fractures, ‘provides no protection’ against brain trauma, including concussions,” The suit also claims that “Riddell knew of the harmful long-term effects on brain traumas sustained by football players while wearing Riddell’s supposed protective equipment; however, it misrepresented and concealed these facts from Hornung.”

The NFL says reported concussions in regular-season games rose 58 percent from 2014 to 2015 — the highest number (182) in any of the past four years. But concussion is not just an issue for the NFL. A study from the National Center for Injury Prevention found that 47% of high school football players say they suffer a concussion each season, with 37% of those reporting multiple concussions in a season. But according to the American College of Sports Medicine, some 85% of sports-related concussions go undiagnosed.

While a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head — the only cure is prevention. Once diagnosed proper management by health care professionals is vital over the long-term.

Hornung’s main reason for bringing this lawsuit is to “use my name and experience to alert former players and warn every current NFL player, every college and high school player and every little tyke playing on the football field that brain injury is real and that the head should never be used as a weapon.”

Click here for a copy of the complaint.