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Jahvid Best suing NFL over concussions

Jahvid Best suffered at least five concussions over the course of his career in the NCAA and NFL.Jahvid Best suffered at least five concussions over the course of his career in the NCAA and NFL. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

More than two years after he last played an NFL game, former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best has filed a lawsuit against the league on the grounds that it "was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries ... but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information." Equipment company Riddell, which manufactures the NFL's helmets, also was named in the suit. Best suffered at least five concussions in his career -- three with the Lions and two at Cal.

The Detroit Free Press first reported on the filing.

According to the Free Press' Dave Birkett, Best also has a pending worker's compensation claim against the Lions. The team was not named in the recent lawsuit.

"We are aware of the suit," the team said in a statement, per Birkett, "but we have no additional comment as we are not a party."

Best's attorney, Bret Schnitzer, told ESPN.com that one of the main goals of this recent lawsuit is "to set up a medical fund for Mr. Best in order to deal with future medical conditions out of this concussion syndrome.

"As I am sure you are probably aware through various media and the Frontline program and so on, the brain injuries with concussion syndrome does not necessarily manifest itself completely immediately, as you can see from the other cases," Schnitzer continued. "Sometimes it is 10, 20 years where the brain injury process takes to develop and it's not necessarily going to show itself in a 24-, 25-year-old football player to the extent that it might 10, 15, 20 years down the road.

"So one of the goals of the litigation is to protect Mr. Best down the road in terms of his medical condition and problems that he may have in the future."

Best was the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage as a rookie, thus providing Detroit's long-stagnant run game with a glimmer of hope. However, he played just six games in his second NFL season and was released by the Lions prior to the 2013 season.

USA Today reported at the time that Best "hasn't given up on playing again," but that he still was not medically cleared to take the field as of August 2013.

Best reportedly joined Cal's coaching staff earlier this month. He will serve as a student assistant while he works to complete his degree.
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