Neil Smith joins former Chiefs players in brain injury lawsuit - KCTV5

Neil Smith joins former Chiefs players in brain injury lawsuit

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This Jan. 7, 1996 file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh (4) trying to get off a pass under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defender Neil Smith (90). (AP Photo/Mark Duncan,File) This Jan. 7, 1996 file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh (4) trying to get off a pass under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defender Neil Smith (90). (AP Photo/Mark Duncan,File)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

More players have filed suit against the Kansas City Chiefs, accusing the team of actions that led the players to suffer brain damage.

This was the fifth concussion-related lawsuit filed against the Chiefs.  The new lawsuit includes defensive lineman Neil Smith, who played for the Chiefs between 1988 and 1996.

Other former Chiefs who are part of this latest lawsuit include Stephone Paige, Jayice Pearson, Trent Bryant, Charles Mincy, Darrel Colbert and Paul Palmer.  The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of the former players. 

The lawsuit was originally filed on behalf of five former Chiefs players, but several others have added their names to the case, bringing the number of players involved to 26.

They are seeking a jury trial and judgment "in excess of $15,000 for actual damages, punitive damages, and/or aggravating circumstances, for the cost of this action, and for such relief as the court deems fair and reasonable."

Chiefs communications manager Brad Gee said the team had no comment.

The Chiefs are already the subject of a workers' compensation lawsuit filed on behalf of several former players who claim the Chiefs hid the risks of permanent brain injuries from repeated concussions from 1987-93, when there was no NFL collective bargaining agreement in place.

In August, the NFL reached a tentative $765 million deal to settle lawsuits filed by more than 4,500 former players who developed dementia or other concussion-related health problems they say were caused by football. The settlement, subject to approval by a federal judge, would apply to all past NFL players and spouses of those who are deceased.

However, several former Chiefs players found a 2005 amendment to the workers' compensation statute in Missouri allowing employees to sue employers in civil court if the employees declined workers' compensation. The window allowing such suits to be fired was due to expire in December.

The lawsuit claims the Chiefs ignored decades of scientific research indicating repeated head trauma causes permanent brain damage. It also claimed the Chiefs increased their risks by giving them "ammonia inhalants, caffeine cocktails and/or [anti-inflammatory drug] Toradol to abbreviate the need for concussed employees to miss working time due to a brain injury."

Players were even more prone to head injuries, the lawsuit said, because of the concrete-like AstroTurf surface that was in place until 1994 at Arrowhead Stadium.

The mother of former Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the team Tuesday after exhuming his body so that his brain could be examined for evidence of a degenerative condition linked to repeated concussions.

The lawsuit, filed by Cheryl Shepherd in Jackson County, alleges Belcher was subjected to "repetitive head trauma" and that the Chiefs failed to provide adequate medical care before Belcher killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide last December.

"Certainly, Hall of Famers who contributed greatly to building the franchise add to the urgency for the team to find a just resolution, rather than try to ignore it or act like they had nothing to do with it," said Ken McClain, a lawyer whose firm is representing the plaintiffs.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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