Football Helmet Lawsuit Alleges Player Not Protected from Brain Injury

A former professional football player has filed a lawsuit against Riddell sports, alleging that the company’s football helmets failed to provide adequate protection, causing him to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI)

The complaint was filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois by Paul Hornung, 80, a former player for the Green Bay Packers. According to the brain injury lawsuit, Riddell’s helmet did not provide protection against concussions and subconcussive brain trauma that it should have prevented.

The plastic helmets were promoted as being innovative and protective, according to Hornung. However, he alleges that the helmets did little to protect players from head injuries. The lawsuit indicates that the manufacturer was aware of the helmet’s lack of protective properties.

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Hornung played college football for Notre Dame, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1956 before going pro. He was awarded MVP while playing for the Packers and inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

According to the lawsuit, Hornung suffers from dementia and likely has Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which cannot be diagnosed until death.

A study published in Neurology in June 2014 found that those who suffered a TBI had a 60% increased chance of developing dementia later in life.

In 2011, the same researchers looked at data on 300,000 veterans and found that 2% had suffered at least one traumatic brain injury, and those who did had a 15% chance of developing dementia, compared to only a 7% chance among those who had not suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of death and permanent disability worldwide, with 1.4 to 1.7 million people suffering a head injury each year. Such brain damage often result in a victim requiring extensive medical treatment and permanent around-the-clock care.

A significant amount of media attention has been placed on sports-related concussions and their long-term effects, and some National Football League players sued the league over the long-term side effects of TBIs.

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