Archive | Litigation RSS feed for this section

“League of Denial” (Part 2)

8 Oct

Coming to a bookstore and TV near you today is “League of Denial” a book and documentary about one of the dirty little secrets the NFL has been avoiding for some time.  Fortunately, I have been provided with advance copies of both; the Frontline film was easy to digest, as for reading a book, well we can just say I am trying to read as fast as possible.

I was reminded quickly, yesterday via Twitter, that I may lack valuable perspective when it comes to concussion information (and that I am not normal – this is not breaking news).  Will Carroll of Bleacher Report let me know that this information will be new to a lot of people out there.  He is exactly right, not only that, this documentary will be easily digestible for the fan of football.  For any person just wading into this, when you tune into PBS tonight to view “League of Denial” you will be absolutely hooked from the start.

The sounds of the crowd, visuals of big hits grab your football part of the brain IMMEDIATELY, over those sounds you will quickly discover the problem NFL players have faced with brain injuries playing their sport.  Harry Carson saying “and then they are gone” when talking about former players.  A bold statement that the level of denial was “just profound.”  An NFL lawyer saying “we strongly deny those allegations that we withheld information or misled the players.”  And more video and sound of punishing hits that used to fill the highlight reel bring the opening curtain of this very important documentary.

This problem is real – it’s not just real for the professionals – and from the get go Frontline makes you understand, vividly and personally, why this is.  After listening to old radio calls of the Steel Curtain it all begins with the story of Mike Webster and the forensic pathologist who studied his brain, Bennet Omalu.

The discovery of a possible reason one of the most respected and lauded players in Pittsburgh sports pantheon fell from grace and eventually found and early demise.  If the football portion of your brain does not connect to what is being presented then I would haphazardly guess that you are not ingrained within the fabric of football.

As Harry Carson explains how the game was played and to some extent how it’s still played you can begin to understand the issue at hand.  This is hammered home when Robert Stern, PhD tells the audience blows to the brain are at forces 20 times greater than the force of gravity (20 G’s); or as he so eloquently put it “driving into a brick wall at 35mph”, 1,000 times or more in a season.

In the first 11 minutes of this 2 hour presentation you are at full attention and want to understand the “whats”, “whys” and “whos”.  If you are not engaged and ready for further explanation I can only say that you don’t care or want to bury your head in the sand.

Contributions in the film include Continue reading

About these ads

“League of Denial” (Part 1)

7 Oct

Coming to a bookstore and TV near you tomorrow is “League of Denial” a book and documentary about one of the dirty little secrets the NFL has been avoiding for some time.  Fortunately, I have been provided with advance copies of both; the Frontline film was easy to digest, as for reading a book, well we can just say I am trying to read as fast as possible.

In all honesty, if you have followed any part of this issue nothing revealed in either medium (thus far in the book) is seen as “BREAKING NEWS” rather an illustration of what has been happening with the research arm and policy makers of the National Football League, with regards to concussions.

“League of Denial” the Book:

In what I have been able to read thus far both Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada have done a good job of telling the hidden secret.  The Fainau’s went as deep as they possibly could without the help of the league itself, even as far as getting one of the original researchers to recount some of the possible misgivings in the past.

By utilizing the real stories of players that met an early demise (Mike Webster most notably) the information has an emotional connection with the reader.  While reading this you understand why this information may have been so valuable to the families and friends of those that could have been effected by repeated head trauma.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to tell you that repetitive brain trauma is bad for you, but the problem here is Continue reading

NFL Concussion Litigation Settled Out of Court

29 Aug

Twitter and my in box is exploding at this very moment…  The NFL and the players who have filed suit against the league have come to a settlement of $765,000,000, Judge Brody’s statement can be found HERE.  This works out to about $170,000/player or estate if there were only 4,500 plaintiffs (numbers are not clearly known).

This is a good thing for the league, and for some players this is well needed cash flow.  If the promise of establishing a better future with study and plans for players hold true it will be a great day.  But excuse me if I’m a bit reserved on the confetti and marching bands…

The 88 plan was supposed to be the answer, then the new Head Neck & Spine Committee, then the Mackey Council within the league (headed by Sean Morey).  There have been many band aids placed on this gashing wound before, perhaps just throwing money at it will clot it up?

Moreover, the fact that the NFL does not have to go through discovery in the litigation process makes those in Manhattan pop the champagne!

Doesn’t it seem a bit coincidental that this has come on the heels of the release of “The United States of Football” and the upcoming release of the Frontline (formerly co-partnered with ESPN)  “League of Denial“?

Perhaps I am skeptical, fine, but who has really won in this?

NOCSAE Press Release Clarifies

9 Aug

NOCASE sent me the most recent press release; pertaining to the aftermarket/third-party additions to helmets. Here it is in full;

==========

Certification to NOCSAE Standards and Add-on Helmet Products

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas – August 8, 2013 - The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has released the following statement regarding equipment certified to NOCSAE standards and add-on helmet products.

“Products designed to be added to a football helmet are being marketed and sold; some are intended to measure impacts, while others are expressly marketed as improving a helmet’s performance. Some products claim the ability to protect against concussions. Regardless of the truth of such claims, the addition of those products to a certified helmet changes the model, by definition, under the NOCSAE standards.

“For many years NOCSAE standards have defined a helmet model as a helmet “intended to be identical in every way, except for size.” Any changes, additions or alterations of the model, except for size, color or graphics, even if made by the original manufacturer, require that a new model name be created and a separate certification testing process begin for that new model. This concept of limiting certification to a specific model is commonly found in national and international helmet standards.

  • NOCSAE itself does not certify any product, it does not “approve” or “disapprove” of any product, and has no authority to grant exemptions or waivers to the requirements imposed by the standards it writes.
  • The addition of an item(s) to a helmet previously certified without those item(s) creates a new untested model. Whether the add-on product changes the performance or not, the helmet model with the add-on product is no longer “identical in every aspect” to the one originally certified by the manufacturer.
  • When this happens, the manufacturer which made the original certification has the right, under the NOCSAE standards, to declare its certification void. It also can decide to engage in additional certification testing of the new model and certify the new model with the add-on product, but it is not required to do so.
  • Companies which make add-on products for football helmets have the right to make their own certification of compliance with the NOCSAE standards on a helmet model, but when that is done, the certification and responsibility for the helmet/third-party product combination would become theirs, (not the helmet manufacturer). That certification would be subject to the same obligations applicable to the original helmet manufacturer regarding certification testing, quality control and quality assurance and licensure with NOCSAE.
  • Products such as skull caps, headbands, mouth guards, ear inserts or other items that are not attached or incorporated in some way into the helmet are not the types of products that create a new model as defined in the NOCSAE standards and are not items which change the model definition.”

###

==========

I read it simply as this;  Continue reading

A Chuckle and Video

10 Apr

I really don’t have much for this quote found in this article;

“I have a theory on concussions,” he said. “I think the reason there’s so much more of them — obviously the impact and the size of the equipment and the size of the player — but there’s another factor: everyone wears helmets, and under your skull when you have a helmet on, there’s a heat issue.

“Everyone sweats a lot more, the brain swells. The brain is closer to the skull. Think about it. Does it make sense? Common sense?” said Carlyle, who said he’d never talked to a doctor about his premise, which he was introduced to by Jim Pappin, the former Leaf who also played his career helmet free.

“I don’t know if it’s true, but that would be my theory. Heat expands and cold contracts. The brain is like a muscle, it’s pumping, it swells, it’s a lot closer to the outside of the skull.”

Stick to coaching hockey, eh!

=====

The ESPN article and video (click link or below) regarding the NFL Concussion Litigation; Continue reading

ESPN OTL Article Sparking Quite A Debate

8 Apr

On the surface this article may be innocuous to many, but the the minutia of concussion research and information is coming to a head very quickly, especially pertaining to the NFL.  Tomorrow is the first hearings in front of the judge – and the possibility of total dismissal - for the concussion law suits filed by thousands of former NFL players.

ESPN and its Outside the Lines department (in conjunction with Frontline) filed this article taking a look at two of the most prominent people in the concussion research/awareness arena, Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski;

Two prominent concussion researchers — including a senior adviser to the NFL — served as paid consultants to law firms suing the league for allegedly concealing the link between football and brain damage, according to interviews and documents obtained by “Outside the Lines” and “Frontline.”

The article written by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada sheds light on the very issues the research community faces with this problem.  Some of this information can be classified as “not new” to people who participate in the constantly shifting arena of litigation and research, while some information can be deemed as scathing.  There is a very tight and ubiquitous line in this matter;

Researchers often are asked to appear as expert witnesses in legal proceedings related to their fields. The NFL suit, with the potential for billions of dollars in damages, has created a large demand for researchers with expertise in the science of concussions.

But some researchers said they have turned down such requests despite the potentially lucrative payoff out of concern the perceived conflict could compromise their research.

Conflict of interest (COI) is something we all need to pay attention to, although it applies to this current article, the COI in this field is rampant and often unchecked.  This is nothing new, players have talked about COI, other journalists have noted it, and one of our prominent commentators (Dr. Don Brady) on the site has even devoted some of his dissertation to COI.

It would seem this is nothing “new” in the world Continue reading

Zurich 2012 In Writing

12 Mar

If you all recall I went to Zurich in November to attend the “Concussion Conference”; mainly as an observer, but there was enough time and opportunity to impart my questions/knowledge as a practicing athletic trainer.  Here are the links to DAY 1 and DAY 2 of my live blogging.  By the way, the live blogging was WELL received and continues to provide great insight into what went on.  I hope that I am asked back for the next conference, or any other conference that wouldn’t mind my attendance.

Now the information gathered at the conference has been hashed and rehashed and now appears as the 4th Consensus Statement (tweeted previously).

As part of the initiative the Standardized Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) was looked at and changes were made to the 2nd version from 2008.  You can now find the new version by clicking SCAT3.

A new wrinkle was an assessment tool for the younger ages, the group decided on the “Child” version of the new SCAT3, that can also be found by clicking Child SCAT3.

Also included in the addendum of the Consensus Statement was a recognition pocket card, found by clicking Recognition Pocket Card.

All of the above is free and intended to be used as a resource for better concussion assessment and even early management of concussion.  Please read the Statement regarding best practices.  As always this blog is NEVER to be used to diagnose or treat a concussion.  There is a lot to be absorbed and read; one thing is for sure we as athletic trainers and concerned/educated individuals now have the most recent information at our fingertips.  I guess this blog is actually doing some good work :)  A side note; how about this appearing during National Athletic Trainers Month?  It might be a coincidence, but I find it serendipitous.

Moorad Sports Law Symposium: Concussion Conundrum

12 Mar

The concussion issue has permeated every facet of life and sport.  Now policies, products, rules and law are starting to address the issue head on (pun intended), and one of the most renowned groups is taking a look at this issue as well;

The 2013 Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium—Concussion Conundrum—explores, debates, and informs on the key issues facing players, teams, leagues, doctors, and lawyers regarding head injuries and brain trauma in sports.

Panels include commentary from well-known retired professional athletes about concussion awareness and prevention amongst players; an examination of both sides of the NFL Concussion Injury Litigation—the concussion injury class action suit brought by former NFL players against the league; an exploration of the science and concussion-related liability facing professional and amateur sports; and a look at where we are and where we are going with media personalities commenting on the state of sports and concussions.

Andrew Brandt, Director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law and NFL Business Analyst, has covered the concussion issue for ESPN and moderates all panels.

The Symposium takes place on Friday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., in the Arthur M. Goldberg Commons at Villanova University School of Law. This program is approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for 2 substantive CLE credits. The event is free for non-CLE attendees.

The panel and the topics are top notch; this event should be on the “to-do” list of  anyone interested in sports law.  Below is the topics and panels (check the website for more deets – also notice our partners at stopconcussions.com (Keith Primeau) and our good friend Paul Anderson);

  • Panel 1: Framing the Issue
    • Keith Primeau
    • Jim Nelson
    • Taylor Twellman
    • Brian Westbrook
  • Panel 2: Building the Case — A Legal and Medical Background of Concussions  Continue reading

Matt Chaney – Tireless Worker

18 Jan

SpringGame1984Sideline
If you have been around enough you have seen the stylings of Matt Chaney on this blog, he is someone I call a friend.  In some circles that discounts me as a professional, which is both stupid and dumb.  I don’t always agree with Matt, heck him and I have been known to battle via electronic and phone communications.  However, his opinion is a valuable one – often his work is based in so much fact it makes your head spin as to why some of its missed.  Regardless, Matt has published two recent articles on his blog, for all to consume, here are some excerpts.

Part 1, published January 7th;

Historic football excuses thrive in modern debate over brutality

Lawsuits, criticism explode and officials project blame onto individuals

Old talking points of football apology resonate yet as officials tout anti-concussion measures like trainers along sidelines, new rules for safer play, injury reduction and expert consultation—same type of promises heard from gridiron leaders during the Victorian Era

American football gets lambasted in public for maiming and killing, denounced by an influential movement of critics, and game officials pledge safer play based on their new concepts of prevention, including:

*Qualified trainers and doctors will patrol sidelines.

*State-of-art medical response will treat the rare severe casualties.

*Limits will govern length of practices.

*Injury tracking will cut rates already on decline.

*Coaches will properly train players.

*Every player will undergo medical prescreening.

*Experts will lead safety reform in rulemaking and research.

*Referees and coaches will enforce new rules of experts.

*Players will follow new rules of experts.

Sounds familiar, these steps, a practical recitation of talking points for contemporary “safer football” promoted by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, in face of lawsuit frenzy against the league and sport in general, along with festering disgust in the public.

Except the football rhetoric is 119 years old, from 1894, a packaged response during the game’s initial siege against formidable opposition seeking abolishment. Continue reading

Coach & AD Magazine Cover Story

17 Jan

cover picIn January’s edition of Coach and Athletic Director Editor-in-Chief, Michael Austin wrote the cover story on concussions; titled “What you’re missing when it comes to brain injuries”.  A very well researched and written article on concussion issues at the high school level.  Austin looked at the changing protocols, safety issues and legal concerns that will be facing the sports of our community schools now and in the future.  Here are some excerpts;

This isn’t just a football problem.  Media coverage focuses on the gridiron, but any time a player’s head is placed in harm’s way, a brain injury is a potential result.  “From what I see, football leads the pack by far but we’re also seeing more girls and boys soccer players sustaining concussions,” says Dr. Michael C. Koester, MD, ATC, who is the director of the Slocum Sports Concussion Program within the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene, Ore. “Interestingly this year, and this could just be a statistical blip, but it’s worth noting we are seeing more girls volleyball players as well.”

That comment struck me as in the fall I saw more junior high school volleyball concussion (5) than high school football concussions (4), I have no idea what that means.

In the area of classification, Austin does a good job of trying to put ‘mild’ to rest with concussions;

Dr. Gerard Gioia, the director of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Program at Children’s National Medical Center and the director of the hospital’s Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program, says the medical community has “dropped the grading system” when it comes to concussions.  He adds a common misnomer is the
suggestion you must have loss of consciousness to sustain a concussion, which is not true.  “You can’t call a concussion
‘mild’ just because someone isn’t knocked out for 10 minutes. Most concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness,” Gioia says.

Regarding the state legislation and protocols;

“The No. 1 goal is to get the student-athlete back to school without symptoms or ramifications before even thinking about a return to the sport,” Fink says. For coaches anxious to have the player return to the field, Fink tells them every athlete Continue reading

NFL Concussion Litigation – The Science of Sport

18 Dec

That is the title given to the upcoming webinar/teleconference sponsored by Perrin Conferences.  These events are mainly geared toward attorneys/lawyers and offer continuing education credits (CLE) for attending.  Below is the press release;

==========

Experts in NFL Concussion Suits join together to tackle industry trends, litigation challenges, and the science in sports injuries on Jan. 8.

Berwyn, PA – Perrin Conferences‘ teleconference series presents “NFL Concussion Litigation – The Science of Sport,”  a program bringing together leading attorneys, doctors and other experts to discuss the issues dominating the headlines of the concussion cases against the NFL, NCAA and equipment manufacturers.  The teleconference will be hosted on Jan. 8 at 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. EST.

The program provides an overview of the current allegations and defenses in NFL concussion litigation, an update on the latest scientific studies, and tackles other issues including:

  • The potential legal and economic impact of concussion litigation for players, sports leagues and uniform equipment manufacturers
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – what is it and how does the science fit into the current litigation strategies?
  • The history of the dangers of head injuries and the timeline of NFL-sponsored studies/concussion rules
  • Medical monitoring and other potential damages
  • Duty to defend, trigger, occurrence and other insurance issues

Speakers include Continue reading

In Case You Missed It, the NFL/NFLPA Agree on Neuro Benefits

11 Dec

nflpaI caught this from Paul D. Anderson, apparently Darren Rovell had it as well; the NFL and the NFLPA finally agreed on neurocognitive benefits for NFL players as part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.  Obviously this was long overdue, but it is now a done deal.  You can read the nuts and bolts on Anderson’s blog HERE.

The gist of the agreement is that players who are fully vested and played one season after 1994 can get compensation for documented neurocognitive disabilities, something that has been missing from coverage since the beginning of time.  But, and its a HUGE BUT, there is a caveat (from Anderson’s blog);

In order to receive the benefits, the player must sign a release promising not to sue the NFL. In other words, if a player accepts the benefits he cannot join the NFL concussion lawsuits. Stated differently, if a player is currently a plaintiff in the concussion lawsuits, in order to receive the benefits, he will likely have to dismiss his lawsuit. The release will not waive any future workers’ compensation claim he may have against a team.

The plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuits, that played after 1994, have a decision to make: Continue reading

NFL players: They’re not doing it for their health

12 Sep

With the NFL season getting started last Wednesday night, player health, at all levels, comes to the front of my mind. I have recently been thinking about health insurance with respect to sports. Living in Canada, it is definitely less of concern than in the U.S., but I thought I would share some thoughts about the college and pro levels of sport.

There is no way that I’m the first person, after all this time, to talk about what colleges and pro teams are doing about health insurance for players. I know there are a bunch of questions about whether or not concussions are pre-existing conditions, and other reasons players can’t be insured, but it should be a legitimate issue at the college and pro-level for contact sports. The NFL, NHL and NCAA have enough financial wherewithal to encourage some forward thinking insurance company to insure the players who are, perhaps unwittingly, putting their future well-being in jeopardy on the field of play.

As has been reported countless times, concussions are caused in a number of ways and the symptoms are diverse. So why should it be forced into the same insurance categories as other injuries with the “pre-existing” condition clause? If there was enough demand for some type of concussion insurance, a new category for a specific league/sport could be created. Taking care of players once Continue reading

The Fight Within The Fight

27 Aug

As the NFL and its former players do battle in the courts, the NFL is also battling to find out who was/is covering them from an insurance perspective.

The answer is not so simple and really could be the tipping point in the sports concussion issue we are facing today.  The simple reason is this, if insurance companies refuse to indemnify leagues, schools, clubs, etc. for whatever reason related to injury, then how will the get coverage?  If they cannot get coverage then they cannot afford to provide the sport.

The National Football League is seeking coverage from insurers that it says have refused to provide a defense as the league faces hundreds of concussion-related lawsuits from former players—but insurers are claiming they have no duty to indemnify or defend the NFL.The list of defendants in a civil case filed Aug. 15 by the NFL and NFL Properties in California Superior Court includes companies from insurance groups such as Chartis, Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, Travelers, Hartford, OneBeacon, Ace, Allstate, XL, Transatlantic, Crum & Forster and Alterra.

Alterra filed papers with the Supreme Court Continue reading

Banning of football as a whole is NOT the answer

7 Aug

The goal of a writer is to bring eyes to their information/opinion to draw eyes for advertisers who in turn pay for the publishing of the article – in a very cut and dry manner.  With the troubles facing sports, particularly football, more and more articles have hit the interweb; often the most cited are those that trample on our beliefs of sport.

George Will penned an article that did just that as he opined that football should be ended because it cannot be “fixed”, a growing belief amongst some.  I am here to tell you that although football has its issues and concussions are high on the list, this is the case with many other sports; hockey, lacrosse and soccer being some off the top of my head.  Will does have some salient points;

After 20 years of caring for her husband, Easterling’s widow is one of more than 3,000 plaintiffs — former players, spouses, relatives — in a lawsuit charging that the NFL inadequately acted on knowledge it had, or should have had, about hazards such as CTE. We are, however, rapidly reaching the point where playing football is like smoking cigarettes: The risks are well-known.[...]

Furthermore, in this age of bubble-wrapped children, when parents put helmets on wee tricycle riders, many children are going to be steered away from youth football, diverting the flow of talent to the benefit of other sports.[...]

The lawsuits have nothing to do with the risk of injury, they have everything to do with whether the league knew about the long-term risks during that time and did not disclose that to the players.  The injury of concussion can occur outside of sports, in fact the majority of concussions come from recreational activities like: skate boarding, back yard touch football, playgrounds, bike riding and driving.  Even if the lawsuits are a reason for Continue reading

Quick Hits

17 Jul

The Ivy League once again takes proactive steps in regards to concussions.  After reducing contact days in football last year, the league Presidents approved similar changes for lacrosse and soccer;

The league announced Monday that its presidents accepted a series of recommendations made by a committee, including the possibility of suspension for hits to the head. The changes, which also will limit the amount of contact in practice, will take effect this fall for men and women.

The recommendations call for continued emphasis on educational initiatives. Consistent with current protocols, preseason meetings will emphasize learning and recognizing the signs of concussions, as well as the importance of reporting symptoms of concussions.

The Ivy league will next turn its attention on hockey.

I truly appreciate what the Ivy League is doing; non-radial with little to no cost moves that will be reassessed as time goes on.  I don’t know why it takes the smartest schools to make simple changes.  Honestly do you think they were the first to figure out that decreasing exposure will decrease concussions?

==========

Lester Munson of ESPN gives a insiders perspective of the law suits the former NFL players have filed;

The numbers are reaching the point where the litigation now qualifies as “mass tort,” a legal term that has been used to describe litigation on tobacco, asbestos and toxic medications.

The players are also demanding in a separate class action lawsuit that the NFL fund a program of medical monitoring for all former players (even those who did not play enough to qualify for retirement benefits), a program that would provide periodic examinations for early signs of concussion damage. The number of retired NFL players is uncertain, but players’ lawyers and their union estimate that there are at least 20,000 players who Continue reading

Players and Owner Perspectives on Concussions in the NFL

12 Jul

Time in the summer has seemingly been slipping away from me fast.  Honestly, most of the traffic ’round here tails off in June, July and August.  However I do feel an obligation to make sure y’all keep informed.  Today here are some links from the past few days;

Priest Holmes explains that some of the concussions caused some weird side-effects/symptoms;

In some instances, the concussed can feel very much like he’s on another planet. The sky itself can change to colors the sky shouldn’t be at a particular time.

“This color obviously isn’t going to be blue. It can be a color that can be orange. It can be red. The sky could turn green,” Holmes told Chris Corbellini. “There’s even an episode where you see a clear light, like light at the end of the tunnel.”[...]

“As much as I loved it [football], that same love now has put me in situations that I have to live with,” he said.”The frontal headaches, the migraines. Laying in bed, it’s tough to get out mornings just because of the pain that is setting in with an arthritic condition, it’s things like that that you never would have really thought about.”

Accepted risk by Holmes, no doubt, however not grasping the long-term effects and really just wanting to play a sport he loved has put him in a position that makes it tough.  In related news Stephen Davis, also a former running back, recently made statements about concussions in his time as a player; Continue reading

Bombshell Found in Sports Illustrated Vault

4 Jul

Thanks to @ConcernedMom9 I was sent an article from Sports Illustrated written by Michael Farber.  Before I tell you the year and provide the link I want so share some quotes from it;

“People are missing the boat on brain injuries,” says Dr. James P. Kelly, director of the brain-injury program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Medical School. “It isn’t just cataclysmic injury or death from brain injuries that should concern people. The core of the person can change from repeated blows to the head.

“I get furious every time I watch a game and hear the announcers say, ‘Wow, he really got his bell rung on that play.’ It’s almost like, ‘Yuk, yuk, yuk,’ as if they’re joking. Concussions are no joke.”

That sounds very similar to what we are discussing now in 2012.

======

•Of the 1.5 million high school football players in the U.S., 250,000 suffer a concussion in any given season, according to a survey conducted for The American Journal of Public Health.

•A player who has already suffered a concussion is four times more likely to get one than a player who has been concussion-free. Quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and defensive backs are most vulnerable, [...] that special teams players were at the highest risk per minute spent on the field.

•Concussions are underreported at all levels of football. This is partly because of the subtlety of a mild concussion (unless a player is as woozy as a wino, the injury might go undetected by a busy trainer or coach) but primarily because players have bought into football’s rub-dirt-on-it ethos. “If we get knocked in the head, it’s embarrassing to come to the sideline and say, ‘Hey, my head’s feeling funny,’ ” says San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young, who has suffered at least a half dozen concussions. “So I’m sure we’re denying it.”

•Football’s guidelines for players returning after concussions are sometimes more lenient than boxing’s. The New Jersey Boxing Commission requires a fighter who is knocked out to wait 60 days and submit to an electroencephalogram (EEG) before being allowed back into the ring.

•According to Ken Kutner, a New Jersey neuropsychologist, postconcussion syndrome is far more widespread than the NFL or even those suffering from the syndrome would lead us to believe. [...] Kutner says that the players fear that admitting to postconcussion syndrome might cost them a job after retirement from football.

Hmmm, we all thought this was information new to us – new being 2008.

======

That, however, doesn’t console Lawrence and Irene Guitterez of Monte Vista, Colo. “He just thought it was something trivial,” Irene says of her son, Adrian, who was a running back on the Monte Vista High team three years ago. “He had a headache and was sore, but it seemed like cold symptoms. He wasn’t one to complain. He wouldn’t say anything to anybody. He wanted to play in the Alamosa game.”

He did play. At halftime Guitterez, who had suffered a concussion in a game two weeks before and had not yet shaken the symptoms, begged teammates not to tell the coaches how woozy he felt. When he was tackled early in the third quarter, he got up disoriented and then collapsed. Five days later he died.

Years later another Colorado high school football player, Jake Snakenberg, would unfortunately repeat history; leading to the concussion legislation passed in that state.

======

Do you have a guess on the year… Continue reading

Joint Complaint

8 Jun

The NFL will have to battle a much bigger “force” rather than many small forces when it comes to the law suits filed by the former players.  The some 80 different cases will be brought together into one “master complaint” to be heard in Philadelphia;

A federal judicial panel has consolidated the cases before U.S. District Judge Anita Brody. The lawsuits aim to hold the NFL responsible for medical monitoring and treatment of the veteran players.

The plaintiffs include Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former Atlanta Falcons safety Roy Easterling. The complaint comes less than two months after the 62-year-old Easterling shot himself at their Richmond, Va., home.

According to The Los Angeles Times, a teleconference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday to address the filing. Mary Ann Easterling and former NFL fullback Kevin Turner are scheduled to speak.

People can look at this from two different perspectives here: 1. the players will have more “resources” and represent a larger group, or 2. the NFL only has to win one case versus 80.  Either way it makes a ton of sense for those filing the complaint, after all there is safety in numbers, right?

Will Football End? Not Because of Lawsuits

10 May

I was interviewed for a piece on Slate by Will Oremus on how it’s not the lawsuits for individuals that will cascade and make football go away.  Rather, it will be the lack of action by organizing groups and those that sanction the sport that could create suits against them that will make the game disappear.

For the record I love the sport of football, I truly believe it has its place in our culture and should not be “banned”.  Football has positive attributes that were discussed in the debate by Tim Green and Jason Whitlock, it too has its undesirable side as well (for the purpose of this blog it is injuries, catastrophic ones at that).

Oremus took a look from a different angle, one that makes a whole lot of sense;

It seems obvious that suing coaches and trainers like Dustin Fink, while holding institutions unaccountable, can’t be the answer to reforming football. Going after individual high schools and colleges isn’t much better. If the evidence that even small hits can cause permanent damage keeps mounting, people will start to ask whether fielding an amateur football team constitutes gross negligence in itself.

The answer to that question should come not from the courts but from high-school athletic conferences, Continue reading

Malcolm Gladwell and His Thoughts on Football and the need for AT’s

2 May

Malcolm Gladwell is an accomplished author, in fact I find his book “Blink” as one of the most influential in my little world.  He has spoken out against the dangers of football even comparing it to dog-fighting, but through all the hyperbole there are some very valid and astute points that need to be listened to.

Kathy Waldman did and interview with Gladwell and wrote it up for Slate on Monday.  Here I will highlight the most striking Q and A’s, you can read the entire article HERE.

Slate: What do you think is the single most compelling reason to abolish college football? Corruption? Head injury? Lost focus on academics?

Malcolm Gladwell: The factor that I think will be decisive is the head-injury issue. Colleges are going to get sued, and they will have to decide whether they can afford their legal exposure. That said, the issue ought to be how big-time college sports subverts the academic mission of university education.

If it becomes a problem at the college level, what does that say about the lower levels?  I agree that head-injury issue is the biggest Continue reading

Monday Morning Weekend Review

30 Apr

There has been a lot of press about concussions the past weekend, mainly due to the NFL draft, however much information is out there (thanks to Concerned Mom for highlighting some in the comment section).  Here is a quick rundown with links that I find interesting.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk makes some great points about NFL litigation and actual player concern;

Supporting that contention will be the fact that no NFL player has retired due to fear of potential harm from concussions.  Yes, some have retired due to the immediate consequences of multiple concussions.  But no NFL player, current or prospective, has passed on playing football at its highest level due merely to the fear that the player may suffer one or more concussions that may cause problems for him later in life.[...]

That’s not to say that claims regarding the NFL’s failure to take meaningful steps before 2009 to protect players from concussions will lack merit.  But as players who now know all they need to know about the risks associated with playing football continue to flock to the NFL, it will be harder and harder to get a judge or a jury to accept that players would have walked away from the sport if they had known then what all players know now.

Agreed on all fronts with Florio here, its tough to sell an Continue reading

Coalition for Concussion Treatment #C4CT

27 Apr

Yesterday I helped launch the #C4CT cause via the blog and twitter and it was nice to see the interest really begin to peak (thanks @SchuttSports, @the_jockdoc  and many others).  As with most movements or introduction of products getting interest is the first thing; now with official press release in hand it is time to explain and get more of us going here.

The hard work of Jack Brewer and Alex Nennig (and probably others) of Brewer Sports International have created this coalition which I believe to be a “best foot forward” approach in not only raising awareness and education of concussions (our number on goal on The Concussion Blog) but has a possibility to stake a claim in treatment of lasting effects of TBI.  I am honored to be asked to be a primary supporter of this cause, although as it catches wild-fire I am hopeful more important people jump aboard – looking at you NFLPA and NFL.

It is also an honor to be along side a very strong and promising law student in Paul Anderson.  I have had many conversations about creating such a cause, but have yet to find the trailblazing counterparts until this came along.  Please take the time to read the below press release and join along this weekend in using the #C4CT, even promoting questions from others about the hash tag is an opportunity to inform!

Press Release========== Continue reading

#C4CT

26 Apr

It is a coalition of sorts, really it is a foundation for awareness, Coalition for Concussion Treatment.  Using the background and subject matter of the current litigation of the NFL Brewer Sports International has created a hashtag to help increase awareness, especially today during the NFL Draft.  Below is a synopsis of what and why they are doing it;

Concussions have been prevalent in sport since their inception, but little was known about the severe short and long-term effects they can bring upon an athlete. The topic of concussions in sport, from youth to professional leagues, is one of the most talked about injuries in relation to the sports community, especially in our country’s most popular professional league, the NFL.  Continue reading

The Continuation of NFL Concussion Litigation

25 Apr

Paul Anderson of NFL Concussion Litigation has been busy cataloging more and more filed lawsuits that relate to concussions and the NFL.  From the Twitter feed of @PaulD_Anderson

On the eve of the 1st hearing in the #NFL#Concussion Litigation, there are 65 lawsuits and over 1,500 plaintiffs.

A quick link list of the most recent news;

The amount of players is becoming dizzying to Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,139 other followers