Neil Smith, a six-time Pro Bowl selection at defensive end who played eight years for the Chiefs, three for the Broncos and one for the Chargers, is suing the NFL in federal court for misrepresentation and negligence. Smith seeks sanctions against the NFL and damages for memory-loss, cognitive impairment and early onset dementia. The Kansas City Star reports:
Smith, 46, contended in his suit that because of repeated and misdiagnosed concussions he suffers from "permanent and debilitating injuries," including loss of memory, "cognitive impairment" and early-onset dementia.
"Indeed, Mr. Smith suffered three concussions - all of which were improperly diagnosed and treated - in one game during the 1988 season," the suit alleged. "Despite exhibiting concussion symptoms, Mr. Smith was regularly returned to play, significantly increasing his chances of longterm brain damage."
He asked that the court sanction the NFL for alleged fraud, intentional misrepresentation and negligence and order the league to compensate him for his injuries and pay for a medical monitoring program.
Smith is not the youngest player to sue the league (Joe Horn, now 40, and Jerome Pathon, 37, were part of a group that sued the NFL last year for allowing trainers to administer Toradol to mask the effect of concussions), nor the most prominent, but he is certainly young for his symptoms, and a recognizable face from the Broncos' Super Bowl wins in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
On Thursday, NFLConcussionLitigation.com noted that over 4,000 of the 12,000 NFL's living retired players are currently suing their former employer for negligent treatment of brain trauma.