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Ex-Bear Shaun Gayle sues NFL, says he suffers from head injuries

Ex-Bears star Shaun Gayle is suing NFL lining up with other professional football players who have accused league failing properly

Ex-Bears star Shaun Gayle is suing the NFL, lining up with other professional football players who have accused the league of failing to properly diagnose head injuries they suffered on the gridiron.

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Updated: August 13, 2012 1:56PM



Ex-Bears star Shaun Gayle is suing the NFL, lining up with other professional football players who have accused the league of failing to properly diagnose head injuries they suffered on the gridiron.

Gayle, who resides in Chicago, is seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, court record show.

In his lawsuit, Gayle said that after 12 seasons — mostly with the Bears — the former defensive back now suffers from symptoms related to the neuro-degenerative disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

“Following his retirement from the NFL, Shaun Gayle suffers from headaches, occasional short-term memory loss and other cognitive deficits associated with CTE,” the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court states.

Gayle blasts the NFL for failing to prevent, diagnose and properly treat concussive brain trauma throughout his career, which ended in 1995, according to the lawsuit.

“Following documented concussions, the NFL [never] warned Shaun Gayle that playing through concussions could, and would, cause permanent brain damage,” the suit states.

In court papers, he also says headgear didn’t provide adequate protection to players. The suit lists helmet-maker Riddell as a defendant.

Gayle’s lawsuit mirrors litigation filed earlier this year by the family of late Bears safety Dave Duerson. But Duerson’s family went a step further, blaming the NFL for his 2011 suicide.

Like Gayle’s suit, the Duerson family’s suit against the league and Riddell also suggests the NFL knew about the harmful effects of the repeated concussions Duerson suffered but concealed them during his career and even after, leading to a mental health spiral and eventually his suicide.

Both suits criticize the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee — an advisory group formed in 1994 — for allegedly misleading players and retirees about the long-term health effects of concussions.

In March, more than 100 former NFL players filed a similar federal class-action lawsuit against the NFL in Pennsylvania.

Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said the suit has “no merit.”

“The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so,” McCarthy said in an emailed statement. “Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit.

“It stands in contrast to the league’s actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.”

Gayle’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.



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