A former NFL linebacker who played the game in the 1970s and ‘80s has become one of
the latest retired football players to sue the league over claims that it intentionally misled athletes on the long-term health risks associated with repeated on-the-field head trauma.
Timothy Petersen, a Colorado resident who had a career with the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins, claims the repeated hits and blows to the head he suffered during his playing years led to present-day health problems.
As a result of the head trauma, his lawsuit claims, Petersen suffers from symptoms associated with multiple traumatic brain injury and CTE, including lesions on his brain that have adversely impacted his memory.
CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease affecting the brain.
Petersen’s physicians have since diagnosed him as having traumatic brain injury, something the former athlete blames on the National Football League, which is currently defending itself against a massive multi-district concussion injury docket consolidated at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
Like the other thousands of former football players that make up the plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation, Petersen claims that the NFL has consistently denied any relationship between symptoms of CTE or other neurodegenerative disorders, and repeated concussions or sub-concussive blows to the head that took place on the field.
“These denials and active refutation on the part of NFL agents, constituted fraud (unintentional or intentional) and concealment of information directly related to the Plaintiffs’ causes of action,” Petersen’s suit reads.
The complaint, which was filed on May 10 by Massachusetts lawyer Anthony Tarricone, of the firm Kreindler & Kreindler, and Philadelphia attorney Sol Weiss, of Anapol Schwartz, seeks monetary damages in excess of $75,000, lost wages, punitive damages pursuant to state law, interest and other court relief.
Petersen is far from the first former NFL player to lodge this type of complaint against the league that governs professional football play.
For close to two years now, individual claims have been pouring in against the NFL that fault the defendant for actively concealing this type of information.
The case docket had become so large that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the creation of an MDL at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with U.S. District Judge Anita Brody tasked with coordinating and consolidating pre-trial proceedings.
The NFL has since filed for a dismissal of the case, a request that was addressed with oral arguments from both sides back in April that garnered national media attention.
Those proceedings, reported on by the Pennsylvania Record, have not yet led to a decision by Brody, although the jurist has vowed to decide on the dismissal motion in a timely manner.
Petersen’s case is similar to the others, which now number more than 200, and comprise 4,000-plus individually named player-plaintiffs, in that they all accuse the NFL of being aware of the risks associated with repeated head trauma, but choosing to “ignore, misrepresent and deliberately conceal from players and their families the risk of serious long-term health effects.”
Petersen alleges that due to his career-related trauma, he is at a heightened risk of developing further adverse neurological conditions in the future.
“Because of the continuing tort of concealment and fraud carried out by the Defendant, and his ongoing difficulties with his memory, it was not until recently, that the Plaintiff had the ability or any reason to consider that repeated head impacts suffered during his career were the cause of his present symptoms and that his symptoms were caused by conduct, misconduct and omissions of the Defendant,” the Petersen complaint reads.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-02574-AB.