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Shoulder Pain Pump Allegedly Cost Man a Promising Football Career

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Salt Lake City, UTA former college football star who now coaches for a living has launched a shoulder pain pump lawsuit, alleging the manufacturer knew that the device could cause grievous damage to his shoulder, but failed to warn both he and his doctor.

In fact, according to the June 11 edition of the Deseret Morning News of Salt Lake City, it took plaintiff Jason Kaufusi years to obtain a definitive diagnosis of his condition.

Kaufusi's problems reportedly began in 2003 following shoulder surgery, after which he was implanted with a pain pump to dispense pain medication directly to his shoulder joint—the site of his shoulder injury.

Shortly afterwards, court documents show, Kaufusi began experiencing pain, weakness and decreased range of motion in his shoulder following shoulder surgery. Repeated trips to various doctors and healthcare professionals failed to reveal what was wrong until last summer, when he was finally diagnosed with chondrolysis of the shoulder—a condition likely caused by the use of a shoulder pain pump following shoulder pain surgery seven years prior.

Shoulder pain pumps were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for use in the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder and not the shoulder joint itself.

However, there are allegations that shoulder pain pump manufacturers have promoted pain pump use for this purpose and withheld any information that would suggest the delivery of pain medication directly to the shoulder joint could negatively impact shoulder cartilage.

In fact, court documents associated with the Kaufusi lawsuit notes that his surgeon would have avoided inserting the shoulder pain pump directly into Kaufusi's shoulder had he known that it did not carry FDA approval for that purpose.

"Defendants knew that their pain pump was never cleared by the FDA for use in or near the joint space, or even for use in orthopedic surgery at all," the suit states.

Stryker in this case manufactured the shoulder pain pump.

The plaintiff played defensive end for the University of Utah and was a promising prospect. Kaufusi was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year in 2000 and a first team all-conference player in 2001 and 2002. A preseason All-America candidate in 2003, Kaufusi was on the Outland Trophy watch list until a shoulder injury ended his career that season.

No longer able to play himself, Kaufusi now works as a defensive line coach at Weber State University. He seeks unspecified damages.

His shoulder pain pump lawsuit was filed earlier this month in US District Court in Salt Lake City.

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