SEATTLE -- Former Seattle Seahawk Kenny Easley has filed a lawsuit against the team and others, alleging his kidneys and career were ruined by large doses of the pain-reliever ibuprofen, according to court records.
The All-Pro safety's seven-year career ended after the 1987 season when he was diagnosed with a severe, irreversible kidney ailment described by one doctor as life-threatening. Easley, 30, now undergoes kidney dialysis three times a week.
The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, claims Easley's kidney troubles were caused or substantially aggravated by large doses of Advil, a brand name of the drug ibuprofen, which he was given while recuperating from ankle surgery in 1986.
Easley seeks an unspecified amount for loss of income, medical costs, reduction in earning capacity, mental and physical pain and suffering and shortened life expectancy.
Defendants named in the lawsuit include the Seahawks; team physicians Dr. James Trombold and Dr. Pierce Scranton; team trainer James Whitesel; a private physician Dr. Gerald Pendras; and Whitehall Laboratories of New York, distributors of Advil.
Neither Seahawk officials nor any of the other defendants would comment on the lawsuit.
In his lawsuit, Easley said Whitesel told him to take four Advil tablets at a time whenever his ankle caused him discomfort. Easley said he told Trombold in September 1986 that he thought Advil was causing a swelling in his leg, and that the physician told him a month later he had a kidney problem probably caused by the drug.
The lawsuit says Pendras found permanent kidney damage in Easley after an examination in February 1987, but did not tell the athlete.
Easley played the 1987 football season, but the kidney problem was discovered in April 1988 when, after he was traded to Phoenix, a physical exam done for the Cardinals detected the condition.
Easley, a five-time Pro Bowl player, was paid $530,000 in salary and bonuses for playing all 12 (non-strike) games in 1987. Had he continued playing football, his contract called for him to be paid $680,000 in 1988 and 780,000 this year.