Ex-players blame NFL for brain injuries

December 22, 2011

Jamal Lewis, Dorsey Levens and two other former NFL players have sued the league over brain injuries that they say left them struggling with medical problems years after their playing days ended.

Lewis and Levens, along with Fulton Kuykendall and Ryan Stewart, filed the lawsuit against the National Football League and FNL Properties LLC this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

The players maintain the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the potential for concussions to harm its players but only went public last year.

''The NFL has done everything in its power to hide the issue and mislead players concerning the risks associated with concussions,'' the players argue in the lawsuit.

NFL representatives did not immediately return phone calls Thursday from The Associated Press.

''While athletes in other professional sports who had suffered concussions were being effectively `shut down' for long periods of time or full seasons, NFL protocol was to return players who had suffered concussions to the very game in which the injury occurred,'' the lawsuit states.

The court documents say the league concealed the dangers from coaches, trainers, players and the public until June 2010, when it publicly acknowledged the health threats and warned players and teams.