Cleat Geeks

NFL Hall of Famer suing Helmet maker Riddell

PaulHornungAccording to the Associated Press we have yet another professional athlete suing someone claiming they were hurt while using their product. Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, who spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, is suing helmet maker Riddell Inc. alleging that the helmets he wore his entire career did not protect him from brain injury. The suit was filled in civil court on Thursday and it is unclear exactly how much he is asking for in damages.

The lawsuit says that Hornung is suffering from dementia. He is linking the dementia to the incurred multiple concussions he suffered in his career as a do-it-all player for the Packers, mostly as a running back.

A Riddell spokesman declined comment, saying, “It’s our policy not to comment on pending litigation.”

Riddell, which started making football helmets out of plastic in 1939, makes helmets for all levels of football including the NFL.

For those of you younger readers, Hornung was a former Notre Dame star nicknamed “Golden Boy.” He was the Heisman Trophy winner in 1956 and was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft the following year. Hornung spent nine seasons with the Packers from 1957 to 1966 (missing the 1963 season due to a gambling suspension), winning the league’s MVP in 1961 and winning four championships with the Green Bay Packers in ’61, and ’62, and again in’ 65 and ’66.

Although much of the light has been shed on the link between repeated head trauma, concussions and neurodegenerative diseases in recent years, the lawsuit alleges that Riddell knew enough in the 1950s and ’60s to have warned players about concerns back then.

PackerHelmet“Studies dating back to the 19th century linked head trauma to permanent brain damage, but Riddell failed to communicate the danger to Mr. Hornung,” attorney William T. Gibbs said in a written statement.

Although many players of Hornung’s era have suffered serious issues that could be connected to head trauma suffered in the NFL, lawsuits from those players are very uncommon.

I am more than likely going to sound like a jerk here, but these athletes get no sympathy from me. It is not like they did not know that continuing to slam into the ground, and other grown men was not going to take a toll on your body? These athletes choose to play a physical contact sport, knew the repercussions and played anyway.

I had a 1967 Chevy Impala, once in my life. The car had no seatbelts. Should I be able to sue Chevy for the accident I had in the car 15 years ago saying that Chevy had seatbelt technology in 1966 yet they did not make the car I choose to drive with seatbelts. I choose to drive the car, and Hornung choose to play football wearing that helmet. Neither party should be able to sue anyone. We both made conscious choices, no one forced to get behind the wheel or put on the helmet.

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