USC Football Player Sues Pain Killer Manufacturer over Heart Attack

Toradol lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that a judge in California recently ruled to continue with a lawsuit filed by a former University of Southern California (USC) football player, who alleges Hospira, the manufacturer of Toradol, failed to warn him of the cardiac risks. The athlete suffered a heart attack after receiving repeated injections of the painkiller.

The plaintiff, Armond Armistead, filed suit under claims of failure to warn and negligence, alleging Hospira failed to adequately disclose Toradol’s side effects and risks. Hospira requested the case be thrown out, stating that Toradol’s distributors misused the drug, failing to take steps to ensure proper warnings were disclosed, and therefore liability should fall on distributors, not the manufacturer.

The judge, however, disagreed with Hospira, and allowed Armistead’s claim to move forward. Armistead also named SportPharm Pharmaceuticals in his lawsuit, which was the company that supplied his team of doctors with the Toradol. Other defendants named include USC, University Park Health Center, and Dr. James Tibone.

Armistead alleges that Dr. Tibone prescribed him the painkiller for uses not listed or recommended on Hospira’s labels. Tibone started Armistead on the medication in 2010, on the day of a game between USC and the University of Virginia, after he complained of pain in his left shoulder. The doctor continued to inject Armistead with Toradol to treat various ailments, such as foot fractures, despite his complaints of chest pain beginning in early 2011.

Ultimately, in March 2011, Armistead’s chest pains became more severe and he eventually suffered a heart attack. He alleges that, because of his cardiac arrest, he was not disallowed from playing for USC during his entire senior year. He claims that by not allowing him to play and refusing to allow him to transfer to another school, USC eliminated his prospects of being selected in the 2012 NFL draft.

Toradol is also the subject of a lawsuit filed by about a dozen former professional football players who claim that the NFL fraudulently urged players to take the painkiller, which they believe increased their risk of post-concussion brain injuries. Toradol is a blood-thinner, and players contend that the NFL failed to inform them of the consequences of taking such a medication, which can prevent the feeling of injury, making it more difficult for players to recognize the symptoms of concussions.

The players describe their experience with the drug as a “cattle call” in the locker room, with players lining up to receive Toradol injections, with no disclaimers or warnings about the side effects. They say that team doctors never even distinguished between the players’ injuries, merely injecting them all regardless of individual ailments.

Plaintiffs claim they now suffer from depression, anxiety, severe headaches, dizziness, sleeping problems, and short-term memory loss from the injections. They accuse the NFL of negligence, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud, and seek an unspecified amount in damages. Their claims were recently consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) with the lawsuits of other former NFL players who claim the league filed to protect players from concussions.

The MDL also alleges that the league was too late in acknowledging the consequences of repeat concussions, and that its efforts to combat the problem were half-hearted at best. The NFL contends that it has implemented numerous measures to protect players from traumatic head injuries, including penalizing helmet-to-helmet hits during games. The league’s Commissioner stated that he was also considering additional rule changes that would minimize the potential for neck and head injuries.

In October 2011, the NFL broadened its medical study on the effects concussions have on the human brain. The study includes about 1,400 people, between the ages of 45 and 59 divided into three groups: those who played football for the NFL, those who played only in college, and non-athletes who demonstrated some medical commonalities with the first two groups.

Traumatic brain injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are glad that the indiscriminate use of drugs in the NFL and the consequent long-term effects of traumatic head injuries are finally garnering some attention. Such effects can begin to manifest even at an early age. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by Toradol, or suffered a traumatic head injury, you have important legal rights, and should contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible.