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Dec 27, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; General view of an Oakland Raiders helmet at press conference at Oakland Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Oakland Raider part of new NFL painkiller lawsuit

A new lawsuit has surfaced from former NFL players who are looking for compensation from the effects of painkillers that were administered to them during their playing careers and a former Oakland Raiders player is one of the eight plaintiffs named as lineman Jeremy Newberry claims that thanks to painkillers given to him during his playing career he now is experiencing serious health issues as side effects.

According to an interview with the Associated PressNewberry, now 38 says that because of the drugs he took while playing, he suffers from kidney failure, high blood pressure and violent headaches.

From the AP:

Painkillers Percodan, Percocet and Vicodin, anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, and sleep aids such as Ambien were “handed out like candy at Halloween,” according to lead attorney Steven Silverman. Sometimes, the lawsuit also charges, the drugs were given in combinations as “cocktails.”

“The stuff works,” Newberry, who played seven of his nine seasons in San Francisco before retiring in 2009, told The Associated Press in an interview. “It works like crazy. It really does.”

Silverman explains that the lawsuit is quite different from the previous class action concussion suit that was filed towards the league, citing that the NFL and team doctors violated several laws in injecting their players with so many powerful painkillers.

“The difference is that the concussion case claimed the NFL knew or should have known,” Silverman said. “We’re saying this was intentional, putting profits ahead of players’ health – and in violation of federal controlled substance laws, as well as state laws. You don’t order hundreds of narcotic painkillers in their names without telling them.”

Painkiller use in the NFL has been out in the public for a long time, but like concussion, former players are now suing the league after noticing how negligence has negatively impact their post-playing lives. Something that the players feel the league is partly responsible for by encouraging a culture of painkiller use and ignoring the adverse health affects of using drugs to mask serious physical injury.

Newberry claims that drug use was so rampant that you could spot its use during pregame warmups for his entire career. Toradol, which according to the AP players called a “full-body numb-er” and “the current game-day drug of choice of the NFL” was used so much by the league that Newberry described seeing both teammates and opponents during warm-ups with blood spots on the buttocks of their pants from taking injections before heading out onto the field.

Newberry and the players will likely be going forward with their lawsuit soon, with an estimated time within the next four months., after which the league has a month to respond. As always with a lawsuit this large and potentially involving thousands of players, the case could be significantly delayed if there are similar filings lawsuits which are eventually turned into one single class-action case.

“We hope this gets to trial,” Silverman said. “I could see a scenario where, if it were to go to discovery, there would be more doctors and trainers taking the Fifth (Amendment) than providing sworn testimony.”

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