Former Mizzou Football Players Sue NCAA

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COLUMBIA - Two former Missouri football players are suing the NCAA in federal court over head injuries they suffered decades ago, joining a cascade of recent lawsuits against college sports' governing body related to traumatic brain injuries.

Tony VanZant and Sharron Washington filed the suit Tuesday. Both played for Missouri from 1987 to 1991. VanZant is now the running backs coach at Division II Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

Both say they suffer headaches, depression and other ailments. The lawsuit seeks medical monitoring and testing for former college players with similar head injuries who didn't advance to the NFL.

VanZant was the nation's No. 1 pick out of high school. He chose to play at MU, but did not start until 1987 because of a knee injury.

He told KOMU 8 News in an interview in 2011 that he started "getting down on himself" and was bitter about reoccurring injuries. He was a hard-hitting defensive back who was on ESPN's "Hits of the Week" twice in 1991.

The suit says he suffered a hard hit in a game against Baylor in 1990 that caused him to bite through his mouthpiece but returned to the game after one defensive series without a concussion test. The suit says Washington has no recollection of the game after the hit. 

Similar lawsuits have been filed in recent months in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Tennessee by ex-players from schools such as Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Oregon and Vanderbilt.