NFL hit with suits over 'concussion crisis'

Twenty-one former players, including cornerback Patrick Surtain and offensive tackle Kyle Turley, have filed a lawsuit against the NFL concerning the longterm effects and neurological risks associated with concussions.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Miami and follows similar suits filed in federal courts in Manhattan and Atlanta this week.

In it, the players say the NFL suffers from a "concussion crisis" and has deliberately ignored and concealed the risks of repeated head trauma rather than warn players that they risked permanent brain injury if they returned to the field too soon after sustaining a concussion.

"Despite clear medical evidence that on-field concussions led directly to brain injuries and frequently had tragic repercussions for its retired players, the NFL failed to protect other players from suffering a similar fate, and failed to inform players of the true risks associated with such head trauma," the suit alleges.

"Instead, the NFL purposefully misrepresented and/or concealed medical evidence on the issue. While athletes who had suffered concussions in other professional sports were being restricted from returning to play for full games or even seasons, NFL players who had suffered concussions were regularly being returned to play after having suffered a concussion in that same game."

The players are suing for unspecified damages, costs, pre-judgement interest and other relief and have requested a trial by jury.

On Wednesday, the NFL notified teams of new concussion protocols that took effect for this week's games, including the addition of a certified trainer who will monitor play in a booth with access to video replay and who can assist the medical staffs of each team.