NFL Hit With Lawsuit by Retired Players Over Painkiller Misuse

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Players were fed medications without regard to their health, suit alleges

The National Football League has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by retired players who claim that they were improperly given painkillers, leading to health problems.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California by retired players Keith Van Horne, Richard Dent, Roy Green among others, claims the league has “intentionally, recklessly and negligently created and maintained a culture of drug misuse, substituting players’ health for profit.”

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The complaint goes on to claim that the NFL hasn’t allowed players time to heal from injuries, and instead “illegally and unethically substituted pain medications for proper health care to keep the NFL’s tsunami of dollars flowing.” Van Horne, for instance, played for a full season unaware that he had a broken leg, and was “fed a constant diet of pills to deal with the pain.”

The suit further alleges that the medications “were often administered without a prescription and with little regard for a player’s medical history or potentially fatal interactions with other medications.

“Administering medications in this cavalier manner constitutes a fundamental misuse of carefully controlled prescription medications and a clear danger to the players.”

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A spokesman for the NFL told TheWrap that the league’s attorneys have not yet had a chance to review the lawsuit.

For the players, the lawsuit claims, the repercussions have been dire. Jeremy Newberry, who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, received hundreds if not thousands of injections and pills, receiving Vicodin, Ambien and other medications, currently has Stage 3 renal failure and suffers from high blood pressure, the complaint says.

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The players are seeking unspecified damages.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.