September 19, 2014
Former Chicago Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass filed a lawsuit Monday against the NFL and helmet-maker Riddell over head injuries he suffered during his 10-season career.
Douglass, now 66, says in the suit he played through concussions during his 91-game NFL career because he and other players were not told it could cause long term brain damage.
“Like many others that made the NFL into the empire that it is today, Mr. Douglass gave his blood, sweat and tears to the game and he now needs the league to step up and care for him,” said William Gibbs, an attorney representing the former quarterback.
The Lake Forest resident was a quarterback for the Bears from 1969 to 1975. He went on to play for the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
Northwestern University graduate John J. Cornell is also a plaintiff in the suit, which was filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Cornell, also 66, lives in Chicago and participated in two NFL training camps for the New Orleans Saints in 1969 and 1970, the suit says.
Both men accuse the NFL of not doing enough to educate players about brain injuries, and say they are now both at risk of developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or permanent brain damage, according to the suit.
They claim they suffered multiple concussive and sub-concussive brain injuries, some of which went undocumented, according to the suit.
They also accuse Rosemont-based Riddell of negligence, for failing to warn players its helmet design would not prevent concussions, the suit said.
In August, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with other former players to settle brain injury claims.
It remains to be seen how the settlement may impact Monday’s lawsuit, said Gibbs, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
The eight-count suit claims negligence and fraudulent misrepresentation and seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
A spokespersons for the NFL and Riddell declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday night.
--Contact: Atty. Thomas Demetrio and Atty. William Gibbs, (312) 346-3191.