The mother of deceased former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the team.
The Associated Press reports the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Jackson County (Mo.) circuit court by Cheryl Shepherd, the mother of Jovan Belcher. The legal action came after Belcher’s body was recently exhumed at a cemetery in Bay Shore, N.Y., at his family’s request so his brain could be studied for a degenerative neurological condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Symptoms of CTE, which has been linked to multiple concussions, include memory problems, behavioral changes and dementia.
Shepherd’s lawsuit alleges the Chiefs failed to provide adequate medical care to Belcher before he killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then committed suicide Dec. 1, 2012. Other failures noted in the suit, which also alleges that Belcher was subjected to “repetitive head trauma,” were the Chiefs failing to warn Belcher of the short-term and long-term risks of concussions; failing to identify and remove Belcher from practice or games after sustaining head trauma; failing to educate Belcher about concussions; failing to monitor or treat Belcher for neurological dysfunction; and failing to provide appropriate counseling.
Belcher was knocked unconscious during a game against Jacksonville in 2009 but did not receive adequate treatment before returning to team activities, the lawsuit stated.