TBIs and Professional Sports: NFL & NHL TBI Lawsuits

May 23, 2014

Powerhouse professional sports leagues like the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) have been the target of growing scrutiny when it comes to the risks of its players sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) on the field or on the ice.

As concerns over the risks and effects of sustaining TBIs in professionals sports continue to mount, here we’ll take a closer look at the issues at play in the brain injury lawsuits filed against the NFL and the NHL.

TBI lawsuits are being filed against the NFL and the NHL on behalf of former players alleging the leagues have profited by putting players at serious risk.

TBI lawsuits are being filed against the NFL and the NHL on behalf of former players alleging the leagues have profited by putting players at serious risk.

TBI Lawsuits Filed against the NFL and the NHL: The Allegations

Both the NFL and the NHL have been named as defendants in an increasing number of TBI lawsuits filed on behalf of former professional football and hockey players. These lawsuits, some of which have been settled but many of which are still pending, generally contend that the NFL and/or the NHL:

  • Have known about the risks of concussions and other brain injuries associated with playing football/hockey and yet minimized these risks to players
  • Have promoted violence during games to boost viewership and the leagues’ own profits at the expense of players’ safety
  • Have failed to take adequate measures to properly protect players from TBIs (by, for example, failing to consistently penalize players who attack others’ heads).

In many of these lawsuits, the former players are also alleging that the repeated brain injuries they sustained during their careers as professional sports players have resulted in an array of persisting, debilitating mental impairments, some of which reportedly include (according to court documents for these cases):

  • Depression
  • Impaired memory and cognition
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is brain disease with symptoms similar to those of dementia.

NFL Brain Injury Lawsuits

Negotiations in NFL and NHL brain injury lawsuits have been contentions, as the deep-pocketed leagues seem intent on defending themselves.

Negotiations in NFL and NHL brain injury lawsuits have been contentions, as the deep-pocketed leagues seem intent on defending themselves.

The public attention surrounding the NFL brain injury lawsuits surged in August 2013 when the NFL offered a settlement to the approximately 4,000 former players who had filed TBI lawsuits against the league. At that time, the NFL’s settlement offer was for about $760 million.

Judge Anita Brody who has been presiding over these cases struck down the offer in January 2014, stating that she was not satisfied that this offer is sufficient to properly compensate the plaintiffs – especially in light of the facts that:

  • This offer had been proposed to cover players who have yet to suffer brain injuries.
  • Insufficient financial documentation of the settlement structure was provided by the NFL to Judge Brody.

As a number of NFL brain injury lawsuits continue to be filed against the league, the only thing that is certain is that the multi-billion dollar NFL will continue to fight these cases and try to undercut settlements to injured former players.

NHL Brain Injury Lawsuits

While NHL brain injury lawsuits have not been as highly publicized as the NFL brain injury lawsuits, they are, nevertheless, gaining more and more attention, particularly as multiple former players file an increasing number of cases against the league. Like the NFL, however, the NHL seems poised to aggressively challenge these claims, as the NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has expressed his intent to fight the allegations filed against the league.

As Daly has stated, “we are completely satisfied with our record on player safety, including as it relates to head injuries and brain trauma… we do not believe the new complaint provides any valid basis for liability or damages as against the National Hockey League, and we intend to defend the case and others that may follow it vigorously.”

 

Portland Brain Injury Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm

Have you or a loved one sustained a brain injury that may have been caused by someone else’s negligence? If so, it’s time to contact the Portland brain injury attorneys at the Savage Law Firm. For more than three decades, we have been devoted to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services.

At the Savage Law Firm, our commitment to meeting the highest professional standards of legal representation motivates us to consistently build our clients the strongest possible cases, be accessible to our clients at every stage of their case and do whatever it takes to help them obtain the best possible outcomes.

Portland & Seattle Lawyers

Helping you recover from the financial setbacks caused by catastrophic injuries is one of our primary goals. Our Portland brain injury attorneys encourage you to learn more about your rights and case by setting up a free initial consult. We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.

Categories: Blog, Personal Injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries