August 1, 2011

A group of retired professional football players and one current player have filed a lawsuit against the NFL. The players claim that the league knew of but deliberately concealed the connection between football andconcussions. The league also failed to treat the brain injuries appropriately, the complaint alleges.

In 2010, the NFL put itself at the forefront of a movement to impose stricter concussion guidelines in school and amateur leagues. The protocols have been adopted in Portland and around the state.

This lawsuit and one filed last month could well be shining a light on the league’s sincerity in backing the guidelines. The plaintiffs’ attorney in this case pointed out to the press that the NFL told players “for decades” that they should “lead with their heads.” The league knew but never admitted the connection between head injuries suffered during the game and health problems that manifest in later years.

The case filed last month makes many of the same claims. That case, though, involves 75 plaintiffs and names the helmet manufacturer as a co-defendant.

This case is seeking certification as a class action. If the court grants the request, the plaintiffs’ group could swell to include every player, now and in the past, who has suffered a concussion while playing for the league.

Once those players are identified, the next step, according to plaintiffs’ attorney, would be to determine what the players’ losses have been. Players and their families have been footing most of the bills for medical care, including long-term care in institutions or at home.

We’ll continue this in our next post.

Source: USA Today, “Current, former players sue NFL over concussions,” Aug. 19, 2011


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