Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Myers on Tuesday slapped the NFL with a lawsuit in a Texas federal court over the league's alleged failure to warn players about the risks associated with returning to the field too quickly after suffering a concussion.
Myers, who retired in 2007 after playing 10 years in the NFL, is the latest in a long line of retired players have sued the league over traumatic brain injuries caused on the football field. Since his retirement, Myers claims he has suffered from severe migraine headaches, sleeping problems, short-term memory loss, depression and other health problems related to the physical toll his body took while playing in the NFL.
“Mr. Myers suffered numerous concussions during his 10-year career in the NFL,” the lawsuit said. “At no time after suffering these concussions was Mr. Myers warned about the dangers of returning to play too quickly. Nor was Mr. Myers warned about the risk of long-term injury due to football-related concussions. This lack of warnings was a substantial factor in causing his current injuries.”
Myers was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1998 NFL draft, according to the complaint. After six seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, he played with the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals before leaving the NFL following the 2007 season.
NFL officials withheld information during Myers' career on the nexus between head trauma and long-term post-concussion syndrome, the lawsuit said. The NFL allegedly told Myers that he was not at an increased risk of head injury if he returned to play soon after suffering a head injury, according to the complaint.
The complaint, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, asserts claims for negligence, fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation and conspiracy.
Phone messages left for Myers' attorney and an email sent to the NFL seeking comment were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Several retired players have sued the NFL in recent years over long-term health problems they've suffered after their playing days ended. In January, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated four lawsuits related to player injuries and included three suits pending in California into a proposed class action in Pennsylvania filed on behalf of all former players.
The suits allege that the NFL breached its duty to its players regarding their health and safety by failing to minimize the risk of head injuries. The complaints also allege the NFL concealed information showing head injuries caused long-term cognitive problems and disputed academic studies purporting to establish the link.
Myers is represented by Christopher K. Johns and Tony Buzbee of the Buzbee Law Firm.
Counsel information for the NFL was not immediately available.
The case is Michael Myers v. The National Football League, case number 4:12-cv-00582 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
--Additional reporting by Abigail Rubenstein. Editing by John Quinn.
February 28, 2012