Ex-football player Armond Armstead reaches settlement with USC

USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead sacks UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut during a game at the Rose Bowl in December 2010.

USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead sacks UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut during a game at the Rose Bowl in December 2010.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Former USC football player Armond Armstead has reached a confidential settlement in his lawsuit that accused the university and team doctor James Tibone of causing a heart attack by improperly injecting him with the potent painkiller Toradol.

Terms of the deal preclude the parties from discussing the litigation or settlement.

“Mr. Armstead believes that the use of Toradol has not been adequately researched with respect to possible long-term consequences, especially when administered to student-athletes by team doctors repeatedly over the course of a season,” Armstead’s attorneys, Roger Dreyer and Robert Bale, wrote in a brief statement Wednesday.


The case was scheduled for trial Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

“We have seen the statements issued by Mr. Armstead’s attorney that express Mr. Armstead’s personal opinions,” USC said in a statement. “While the university will not comment on the case, USC has always placed the health and safety of its student-athletes as its top priority.”

Armstead sued USC, Tibone and the University Park Health Center in August 2012. The former defensive lineman said that team doctors injected him with Toradol, the non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory painkiller popular in the NFL and major college football, 10 times during his junior season in 2010. The drug’s name or risks were never explained, he said.

“It was my understanding that the shot would enable me to play,” Armstead testified in a deposition in the case.

Tibone and other university staffers testified that they did nothing wrong.

In March 2011, USC University Hospital determined that Armstead had suffered a heart attack.

Cardiovascular problems, including heart attack or stroke, are possible side effects of Toradol listed in the Food and Drug Administration’s warning for the prescription drug.

Armstead, once considered a top NFL prospect, wasn’t cleared to play his senior season at USC. He went undrafted by NFL teams before playing briefly in the Canadian Foorball League and signing as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2013. He retired last year at 23.

His lawsuit sought unspecified damages.

“It is his hope,” the statement said, “that above all, the NCAA and all college football programs will adopt a commitment to always put the individual safety of student athletes ahead of the need to win.”

Twitter: @nathanfenno