Photo by Michelle Eve Sandberg

Florida is a hotbed for football talent, young and old. Many of Miami’s high schools are basically factories for college football programs and, by proxy, the National Football League. When players retire, many of them choose to buy mansions on the South Florida coast.

And because the state is crammed with retired NFL players, it’s a mecca for both football-related wealth and injuries.

Case in point: This past Monday, 26 retired Florida football players sued the NFL and demanded the league give them workers’ compensation. The players say the league hid the fact that repeated concussions cause a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in which a person’s brain wastes away until he or she dies. In all, 141 retired players filed suit, but only 38 are named.

In the suit, the players compare the NFL to a group of tobacco executives, desperately shoving bad information under the rug as increasingly frightening concussion science came to light.

The NFL “routinely failed to care for Plaintiffs’ repetitive head injuries during their careers in any medically competent or meaningful manner that complied with any known published contact sports return-to-play guidelines at the time in which the injuries occurred,” the suit says.

Studies show players who live through multiple concussions and blows to the head often develop a fatal disease in which the brain wastes away, causing severe memory loss and confusion. Multiple investigations have shown the NFL knowingly hid the risk of CTE from its players, and in 2015, the NFL agreed to pay retirees more than $1 billion for CTE-related medical claims. But players say that since that decision came down, science has shown the NFL should be taking care of even more players.

“Scientific verification of CTE in

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