Denver Broncos free safety Dale Hackbart (plaintiff) attempted to block Charles Clark (defendant), a running back for the Cincinnati Bengals (defendant), during a play at an exhibition game in 1973. Acting out of anger, but without specific intent to injure, Clark hit Hackbart on the back of the head with his forearm. No official observed the hit and no penalty was called. Hackbart played the remainder of the game and two subsequent games before seeking medical assistance. Hackbart was diagnosed as having a neck injury. The Broncos paid Hackbart his entire 1973 salary, pursuant to a clause in his contract. Thereafter, Hackbart brought a tort suit against Clark and the Bengals.