Retired NFL players Jim McMahon and Richard Dent are among the group of NFL players who filed a lawsuit alleging that the league illegally supplied them with painkillers to mask injuries that might keep them off the field.
An attorney whose firm filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco alleges that drugs were used to help players quickly return to play, boosting team and league profits, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The lawsuit “seeks an injunction creating an NFL-funded testing and monitoring program to help prevent addiction and injuries and disabilities related to the use of painkillers,” and also seeks financial damages.
The lawsuit alleges that the league illegally obtained and administered the drugs, without prescriptions and without warning players of potential side effects, so that injured players could return to the field without extensive recovery time. Some players say they weren’t told they had broken bones but instead were given pills to mask the pain, the AP reports. Players allege that years of free pills from the NFL left them addicted to painkillers. The attorney said the NFL “callously ignored” the long-term health of the players in its “obsession to return them to play,” according to the Washington Post.
The lawsuit alleges that Jim McMahon became addicted to painkillers, and at one point he took more than 100 Percocet pills per month, even in the offseason. According to the AP, team doctors and trainers administered drugs without prescriptions, and they failed to keep records or explain side effects to injured players.
Last year, a judge rejected a proposed $765-million settlement of a concussion-related lawsuit by former NFL players out of concern that the funds may not be sufficient. Six of the eight named plaintiffs in the new lawsuit were involved in the concussion case. Former National Hockey League players have also filed litigation over concussions suffered during their playing days.