On July 19, 75 former players brought an NFL Concussion Lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that the league covered up evidence that concussions could cause long-term damage. The lawsuit was filed in California state court July 20 but has “not gotten a lot of media attention, say local football fans, because of the recent NFL “lockout” that took center stage due to the possibility that the professional football season may have been delayed or even canceled.
Fans have been watching this “concussion” issue unfold since the recent disclosure by Terry Bradshaw that he’s suffering from brain damage due to repeated concussions when he was an NFL player.
“The basic factual outline of the claim is that the NFL neither informed its players about the possible long-term effects from concussions nor protected them from the risk of head injuries. The lawsuit includes some high-profile players—Mark Duper and Mike Richardson—and the injuries chronicled in the complaint are clear and dramatic.* They range from memory loss and cognitive impairment to intermittent rage, depression, inability to concentrate, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, dementia, and early-onset Alzheimer's. The complaint also repeats the conclusion of Dr. Bennet Omalu that the deaths of players including Mike Webster, Terry Long, and Andre Waters were at least in part caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy, triggered by multiple football concussions,” stated Slate in a July 26 report.
Also, the law suit is “limited to living players.” However, this could change say experts since many hundreds, if not thousands of former players who have now passed also suffered from brain damage due to playing ball under NFL safety guidelines that this suit notes were not "safe for players" due to frequent concussions that average 12 to 16 brain blows during an average football player's career.
NFL alleged cover-up “sounds like something out of Watergate”
In turn, Slate noted that “all of these plaintiffs face a long and winding road from injury to liability and recovery. The former players' position is tricky because the science establishing the long-term risks of concussions isn't new. If the NFL knew about it, why didn't the players, or at least their union? The attorneys set forth dozens of scientific facts from reputable journals and statements by formal and informal "authorities" (including Pop Warner, from almost a century ago), all to the point that the effects of concussions have long been known. So, why didn't the union try to do something about this, if it was so clear? The players' response might be that the NFL tried to throw them off the scent.”
“By alleging a pervasive, fraudulent cover-up, the plaintiffs' attorneys have made the case a candidate for punitive damages, which are available only when the defendant's actions are worse than "merely" negligent. And the suit alleges that the NFL has gotten away with suppressing evidence by virtue of its ‘monopoly power over American football,’” Slate’s report added.
Powerful NFL kept law suit out of the public eye, say fans
Other than CNN breaking this former NFL player law suit back on July 20, the news -- that 75 top former NFL football stars are now taking the NFL to court over covering up vital health information that would have prevented their brain injuries – the public has heard very little if anything about this issue due to the fact, say fans, that “talk of concussions and football is a buzz kill.” CNN reported July 20 that these former 75 NFL players "did not know the long-term effects of concussions" and relied on the NFL to protect them, the suit says.
Concussions and brain damage of players "part of the game"
"For decades, defendants have known that multiple blows to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia, depression and (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and its related symptoms," says the 86-page lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 19.
Those speaking up for the powerful NFL note that "concussions and resulting brain damage" is part of the game.
CNN also noted that “the suit notes that in 1994, the NFL studied concussion research through funding the NFL Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The committee's published findings in 2004 showed ‘no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulative effects’ from multiple concussions, the suit says. In addition, in a related study, the committee found that ‘many NFL players can be safely allowed to return to play on the day of a concussion if they are without symptoms and cleared by a doctor.”
However, "it was not until June 2010 that the NFL acknowledged that concussions can lead to dementia, memory loss, CTE and related symptoms by publishing (a) warning to every player and team," says the suit.
"This action arises from the defendants' failure to warn and protect NFL players such as plaintiffs against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions. This action arises because the NFL defendants committed negligence by failing to exercise its duty to enact league-wide guidelines and mandatory rules regulating the post-concussion medical treatment and return-to-play standards for players who suffer a concussion and/or multiple concussions,” CNN reported.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said recently that the league had not seen a copy of the suit but would "vigorously contest any claims of this kind."