Helmet Manufacturer Named in Class-Action Suit | Athletic Business

Helmet Manufacturer Named in Class-Action Suit

On Monday, football helmet manufacturer Riddell was named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit claiming they didn’t properly protect football players from head injuries or inform them about the long-term risks.

The suit, filed in a California court by the firm Circelli, Walter & Young, seeks damages for healthcare costs, lost wages and other damages, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It comes on the heels of a separate class-action suit from the firm, filed earlier in January, in which the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference are the named defendants.

The suit against Riddell alleges that the marketing for a particular line of helmets misrepresented their efficacy at reducing head-injuries and concussions. A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study, funded by Riddell, claimed that that line of helmets could reduce the likelihood of a player suffering a concussion by more than 30 percent. The Star-Telegram reports that in 2000, a biomechanics firm sent a report to Riddell that no helmet is capable of preventing concussions. 

“Our complaint against Riddell is that Riddell designed and marketed a line of helmets that they claimed would reduce concussions when in reality they knew that marketing claim was false,” attorney Vincent Circelli said. “Players relied on this concussion reduction marketing and suffered multiple concussions while wearing Riddell helmets.”

This suit isn’t the first bout of legal trouble for the helmet manufacturer. Two suits, filed in July on behalf of former NFL players, claimed that Riddell failed to properly educate the plaintiffs about the long-term dangers of concussions and head injuries, and that the firm knew their equipment couldn’t protect against those risks.

In a statement, which you can read in full here, the company said: "Riddell has been working with the football community for over a decade and a half to understand the on-field circumstances contributing to concussions and to develop state-of-the-art helmets that reduce concussion risk. Plaintiffs’ recycled allegations ignore the more than 15 years of work by Riddell, government agencies, football organizations, sports leagues, schools, industry groups and others to advance concussion awareness."

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