Former Viking Ballard files first lawsuit against NFLPA over concussions

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Former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman, Christian Ballard, is one of two former players suing the NFL Players Association for not providing accurate information about the risk of head injuries.

According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ballard and another former-NFL player, Gregory Westbrooks, Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. It claims the NFLPA "withheld information from the players about the risks of head injuries."

The lawsuit names three former union presidents – Trace Armstrong, Kevin Mawae and Troy Vincent.

In the complaint, the players allege the NFLPA knew for decades about evidence linking the long term effects of traumatic brain injury to long term neurological problems.

"But they ignored, failed to warn and actively concealed information from the Plaintiffs, others who participated in organized football at all levels, and the general public."

The NFLPA quickly responded to the allegations Friday afternoon.

"This lawsuit has no merit and we will defend our union and our past Presidents," said the union in a statement. "The NFLPA has made the health and safety of its members a priority and the advancements in professional football on concussion education, prevention and treatment are a result of our efforts."

Ballard played for the Vikings in 2011 and 2012. He left the team last September. The union is representing Ballard in a separate grievance concerning about $240,000 in 2013 salary the Vikings are trying to recoup after Ballard left the team.

Westbrooks, 61, played for four teams from 1975-81, including the Saints, Raiders, Cardinals and Rams.

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