Ex-players accuse NFL of fraud over concussion policies

PHILADELPHIA -- NFL officials conspired to hide evidence linking concussions to dementia and brain disease, seven retired players charge in the latest lawsuit filed on the subject.

The fraud and negligence lawsuit filed in Philadelphia accuses the National Football League of publishing nonscientific papers written by biased members of its medical committee, while denouncing valid research that suggested a link.

At least eight similar lawsuits have been filed in New York, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida. Two-time Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon and more than 100 other players have signed on, citing symptoms that range from occasional memory problems to depression to degenerative brain disease.

"Rather than warn players that they risked permanent brain injury if they returned to play too soon after sustaining a concussion, the NFL actively deceived players, by misrepresenting to them that concussions did not present serious, life-altering risks," charges the suit, filed on Wednesday.

The NFL will ask federal judges next week to consolidate the cases there before U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, who has experience with multi-district litigation and was assigned the first NFL concussion case last summer.

The league rejects allegations that it failed to protect its players.

"The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to take steps to protect players and to advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions," spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday in a statement. "The NFL has never misled players with respect to the risks associated with playing football."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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