The lawsuit was originally filed in Jackson County Circuit Court and was moved to U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri Wednesday.
McClinton, 73, who was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1995, claims he received "multiple repetitive traumatic head impacts and concussions" during games and practices, and he never received treatment.
"Curtis McClinton, Jr. has been diagnosed with cognitive impairment and decline that is severe and coupled with the emotional difficulties, irritability, lack of impulse control, and delusional paranoid behavior with confabulation. On information and belief, Curtis McClinton, Jr. also suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”), a condition caused by repetitive subconcussive and/or concussive blows to the head. On information and belief, Curtis McClinton, Jr.’s medical condition, in whole or in part, is a direct result of sub-concussive and/or concussive blows to the head he sustained while playing professional football."
McClinton's lawsuit claims the NFL has "mythologized" violence, glorifying it through NFL films, while making billions of dollars from it.
The petition makes note of studies of NFL retirees that show abnormally high rates of cliniical depression, and Alzheimer-like symptoms.
"Despite its unilateral duty and power to govern player conduct on and offthe field, the NFL has for decades ignored, turned a blind eye to, and actively concealed the risks to players of repetitive sub-concussive and concussive head impacts, which can and do result in players being knocked unconscious or having “their bell rung” so that they are in a conscious but disoriented state.One case study cited in the petition is that of former Chiefs center Mike Webster, better known for being an anchor of the offensive line on Pittsburgh Steelers championship teams:
In 1999, former Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Fame inductee Mike Webster filed with the NFL a request that he receive complete disability benefits based on the fact that he had sustained repeated and disabling head impacts while a player for the Steelers. In 1999, Webster submitted extensive medical reports and testimony that stated, among other things, that Webster suffered from “traumatic or punch drunk encephalopathy [brain disease]” sustained from playing football that left Webster totally and permanently disabled as of 1991.
The NFL’s own physician independently examined Webster and concluded that Webster was mentally “completely and totally disabled as of the date of his retirement and was certainly disabled when he stopped playing football sometime in 1990.”
Webster died in 2002 at the age of fifty. Tn December 2006, the Estate of Webster received an unpublished opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that affirmed the decision ofthe District Court that the administrator had wrongly denied him benefits. In its opinion, the Fourth Circuit stated that the NFL Plan had acknowledged that the multiple head injuries Webster sustained during his playing career (1974-1990) “. . . had caused Webster eventually to suffer total and permanent mental disability.. .
Thus, the NFL, through its own expert medical testimony and the expert testimony submitted by Webster knew and accepted that repetitive traumatic brain injuries sustained by a Hall of Fame player led to long-term encephalopathy and permanent mental disability.
Court documents also indicate the NFL itself has recently taken action in regard to concussions and head injuries, acknowledging the problem.
McClinton, who is represented by the Shaffer Lombardo Shurin firm of Kansas City, is asking for a jury trial.
McClinton had a long successful career with the Chiefs, dating back to the team's days as the Dallas Texans. He was the AFL Rookie of the Year in 1962 following a highly successful collegiate career at the University of Kansas, where he was named all Big Eight three times.
He was an all-star three times and is the sixth leading rusher in Chiefs history, scoring 18 touchdowns during his career.
Since his retirement, McClinton has been just as successful, graduating from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and becoming a registered banker. McClinton served as deputy mayor for economic development in Washington, D. C. and now owns McClinton Development Company in Kansas City. He is the founding president of the Black Economic Union of Greater Kansas City and serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching economics and entrepeneurship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.