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Gale Sayers sues NFL, helmet maker, alleging head injuries caused brain damage

Chiacago Bears running back Gale Sayers races toward endzone 17-13 loss Green Bay Packers 1967. (Phoby VernBiever/Getty Images)

Chiacago Bears running back Gale Sayers races toward the endzone in a 17-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers in 1967. (Photo by Vernon Biever/Getty Images)

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Updated: October 22, 2013 6:16AM



Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers is suing the NFL and Rosemont-based helmet maker Riddell for allegedly failing to prevent repeated head injuries that he said led to brain damage.

The former Chicago Bear claims he suffers headaches, occasional short-term memory loss and other cognitive deficits from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, according to a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Sayers, who was on the Bears from 1965 to 1972, claims he suffered multiple documented and undocumented concussions during eight training camps, weekly practices and more than 75 regular season games.

The suit claims Sayers played with concussions because the NFL never warned him doing so could cause brain damage.

The five-count lawsuit also names Riddell as a defendant, claiming the helmet maker did not provide adequate safety instructions or information about which models provide the best protection.

The suit comes a month after the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with a group of former players. Sayers’ lawyer could not be reached for comment on how the settlement could affect Friday’s lawsuit.

Spokesmen for the NFL and Riddell declined to comment.

mlansu@suntimes.com

@mikelansu



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