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Former Green Bay Packer Paul Hornung sues helmet company

Former Green Bay Packer Paul Hornung is suing helmut manufacturer Riddell in Chicago.| AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File

Paul Hornung, who played college football in a leather helmet and went on to become an NFL MVP and Pro Bowl player, has filed a lawsuit against helmet manufacturer Riddell in Cook County Circuit Court.

Paul Hornung won the Heisman Trophy in 1956 and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers the following year, according to the suit. During the 10 years he played in the NFL, Hornung was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player, was named to the Pro Bowl twice and won four NFL championships.

The suit, filed Thursday by Paul and his wife Angela Hornung, alleges that Paul Hornung was given a Riddell helmet during his time with the NFL and was told the “innovative” plastic helmets would protect his brain.

Hornung wore a Riddell helmet during practices and games, during which time he suffered numerous concussive brain traumas, according to the suit. He continued to play through the concussions and was told at the time that there were no long-term consequences for doing so.

Hornung claims Riddell knew the consequences at the time and hid the information from players like himself. Instead, the helmets were promoted to players and the public as safe, and the company failed to tell him of the risk that the helmets would not protect his brain, according to the suit.

The two-count complaint seems damages in excess of $50,000 and requests a trial by jury.

In the suit’s first count, Hornung said that as a result of the lack of warning, he suffered injuries including the development of dementia and other diseases caused by repetitive head trauma, according to the suit.

In the suit’s second count, his wife Angela claimed that as a result of her husband’s injuries she has suffered deprivation from society, affection and companionship.

Erin Griffin, a spokeswoman for Riddell, declined to comment on the lawsuit.