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Health News Florida

Retired NFL Players File Lawsuit, Want League To Pay For Brain Injuries

Attorneys representing Tony Gaiter (3rd from left) and 141 other retired NFL players answer questions in front of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 21, 2016.
Attorneys representing Tony Gaiter (3rd from left) and 141 other retired NFL players answer questions in front of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 21, 2016.

Lawyers representing 142 retired NFL players filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL Monday in Fort Lauderdale.

They want the league to recognize CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, as an occupational hazard that should be covered by workers compensation.

Tony Gaiter, 42, is the lead plaintiff in the suit.

He played for the University of Miami, before going on to play for the New England patriots and the San Diego Chargers.

“Two or three years after football, my friends and family started noticing I was forgetting stuff,” said Gaiter. “Like when I went to the grocery store. My mom has to write me a list out or I won’t come back with the right things.”

Gaiter was a wide receiver and punt returner. The Miami native played four years in the NFL, from 1997–2001. He was diagnosed with CTE in 2015. Now living in Sunrise, Gaiter said he is being treated for depression and memory loss.

Tim Howard, Gaiter's attorney, said 95 percent of NFL player autopsies have revealed CTE.

The NFL could not yet be reached for comment.

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