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NFL Sued by Retired Players for Brain-Injury Monitoring

The National Football League postponed its supplemental draft, which was scheduled for today and didn’t give a reason for the delay and has yet to set a new date. Photographer: Richard Sheinwald/Bloomberg
The National Football League postponed its supplemental draft, which was scheduled for today and didn’t give a reason for the delay and has yet to set a new date. Photographer: Richard Sheinwald/Bloomberg

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The National Football League was sued by three retired players seeking to establish a medical monitoring program for brain injuries on behalf of all former players in the league.

Harry Jacobs, 74, Jerome Barkum, 61, and Tommy Mason, 72, said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court yesterday that they suffer from brain injuries as a result of repeated blows to the head during their playing days. Jacobs’s and Mason’s wives are also named as plaintiffs.

The retired players, who seek to represent all former NFL players in the U.S., asked the court for a declaration that the league knew or should have known that repeated head impacts and concussions put the players at risk of developing degenerative brain diseases later in life.

The players are seeking medical monitoring and unspecified personal-injury damages. Suits making similar claims were filed earlier this year in federal court in Philadelphia and state court in Los Angeles.

“The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so,” Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the league, said in an e-mailed statement. “Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit.”

Jacobs played linebacker-defensive end for 11 seasons with the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Mason played 11 years with the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. A kick-returner and running back, Mason played in three Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro pick in 1963, according to Pro-Football-Reference.

Barkum, a first-round draft choice of the New York Jets in 1972, played his entire 12-year career with the team as a wide receiver and tight end, according to Pro-Football-Reference. He made the Pro Bowl in 1973.

The case is Jacobs v. National Football League, 11-CV-9345, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net; Thom Weidlich in New York at tweiclich@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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