Why Former Bears tackle Keith Van Horne is Suing the NFL
Former Bears tackle Keith Van Horne is battling heart conditions and bouts of extreme dizziness. He blames team doctors for issuing excessive doses of painkillers and no warning about the risks
Three weeks ago, another lawsuit was directed at the NFL. Eight retired players were named in a class-action complaint (Marcellus Wiley was later added as a ninth) alleging that the league is responsible for fostering a culture of drug misuse that led to long-term health issues and personal losses for players over several decades. The 85-page filing details teams’ practices of distributing narcotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and local anesthetics without disclosing the possible side effects to players, as well as the teams’ encouraging excessive use and mixing of painkiller medications. The NFL has not commented publicly; Matt Matava, the Rams’ team physician and president of the NFL Physicians Society, released a statement saying he was “surprised” by the lawsuit and that “as doctors we put our players first.”
The suit naturally raised questions, including “Why now?” and “Why go after the NFL instead of individual teams?” We asked one of the named plaintiffs, Keith Van Horne, a tackle for the Chicago Bears from 1981 to 1993, for some answers.