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Ex-linebacker’s son, Eric Hilgenberg, sues NFL on father’s behalf

March 1st, 2012 by Gabriel Z. Levin
On the same day the Hilgenbergs filed their wrongful death suit, 40 other NFL players and their wives did the same.

As more and more research emerges about the dangers of playing the highly rough and physical sport of football, news outlets report that the National Football League (NFL) has been bombarded with personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that family members have filed on their loved one's behalf.

The son of ex-linebacker Wally Hilgenberg is just one of the people who filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL.  Hilgenberg's son, Eric, and his personal injury attorney filed the claim on behalf of himself, his father's estate and his mother, Mary, according to Courthouse News Service.

In Federal Court, Hilgenberg alleged his father died from degenerative brain injuries resulting from repeated concussions. The NFL veteran spent 16 years playing in the league as part of the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings and played in four Super Bowl championships. Hilgenberg was just 66 years old when he died.

On the same day the Hilgenbergs filed their wrongful death suit, 40 other NFL players and their wives did the same. According to the complaints, the NFL had knowledge of the injuries the players suffered for decades, but chose not to ''act reasonably by developing appropriate means to identify at-risk players and guidelines or rules regarding return-to-play criteria.''

Injuries the football players suffered included loss of memory, dementia and Alzheimer's.

After retiring from the NFL in 1979, Hilgenberg started a profitable real estate business with former teammate Stu Voigt. His health began to deteriorate in 2003 when he suffering from memory loss and muscle weakness.

After Hilgenberg's death, family members were told he passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease. Some of his organs were donated to Boston University's School of Medicine, which later determined his death was the result of serious brain trauma, according to the claims.

The Hilgenberg family is looking to be compensated on the grounds of concealment, civil conspiracy and negligence.

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