The Fight Within The Fight

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 of the State of New York seeking a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify the NFL because there is a dispute between the two about how its policy should be read and interpreted.

The NFL, meanwhile, seeks to recover more than $5 million in attorneys’ fees and other costs it has already spent in defense of numerous lawsuits from thousands of former players and spouses alleging they suffered neurological damage from head injuries as a result of neglect and fraud by the league.

From my not-so-legal eyes it appears that the insurance companies are trying to figure out whose and what polices were in place, when the players in suit were playing.  However, this type of situation can play out at the college level, even high school level as well which would put some organizations in danger pending the outcome.

The most sobering fact is; if insurance companies stop covering football then the sport will be finished.  It is worth noting what is happening here.

10 thoughts on “The Fight Within The Fight

  1. Glenn Beckmann August 27, 2012 / 10:09

    Agree 100%. Riddell is facing the same situation with their insurers from as far back as 45 years ago and has, in fact, filed suit against some of those insurance companies who are balking at providing defense and coverage.

    That’s why it’s very likely that, moving forward, insurance companies will be part of the solution for making the game safer for all players.

    • safer – definition by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus …


      1. Secure from danger, harm, or evil.

      2. Free from danger or injury; unhurt: safe and sound.

      3. Free from risk; sure: a safe bet.

      4. Affording protection: a safe place.

      Antonyms of safe, safer:

      from Merriam Webster:

      endangered, exposed, imperiled (or imperilled), insecure, liable, open, subject (to), susceptible, threatened, unsafe, violable, vulnerable

      Definition of OXYMORON:
      from Merriam Webster:

      a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements


      “safer football” is an example of contradictory or incongruous words


      “Safer football” has been a mantra since the days of President Teddy Roosevelt.

      If one defines the term “safer” as defined above, the term “safer football” becomes an oxymoron…and thus an impossibility.

      As the term “safer football” is composed of contradictory or incongruous words.

      An examination of antonyms of “safe and safer” reflects the reality and probability of the outcome of football participation.

      Athletes are endangered, exposed, and susceptible to injury…yet these injuries are being minimized or accepted as “part of the game”…and often without a critical examination of the financial, physical, emotional and social costs of sport-related injuries.

      Football participation directly causes many types of injuries…and the predictable injuries that occur are one of the reasons that Sports Medicine is an expanding field…and big business.

      ( $ports Medicine = big busine$$ ).

      Copyright @ 2012 D & F Brady

      • Glenn Beckmann August 28, 2012 / 11:47

        Not sure how one could argue that football is not safer than it was in the day of Teddy Roosevelt. Last I looked, dozens of people aren’t dying every year from playing the game.

        Football is a violent game of collisions and cannot be made completely safe. But that does not mean to abandon all effort to make it as safe as possible – that the safety conditions prevalent today cannot be improved tomorrow, even if such effort and conditions fall short of completely safe.

        Unless your desire is to bring about the end of football, taking the position of “safer football is an oxymoron” is cruel and inhumane – abandoning all efforts to assist the young men who play the game because of the futility of the effort. After all, football cannot be safe, so why waste time with it and the players who play it, right?

    • Matt Chaney August 28, 2012 / 15:24

      I’m sure I can argue with you, Mr. Beckman, regarding whether the skinny football players and their flimsy pads of 1905–without your high-tech helmets that emboldens we later players to become guided missiles–constituted a more dangerous game than today.

      Only modern medicine, including intricate trauma surgery and powerful antibiotics, prevents a multitude of deaths in today’s attack-robot game.

      I’m here all day and night to debate this one, but I have to go to my paying job at moment–I’m only in debt, not making a living, for my decades of work in football issues.

      I’ll begin with a intros and links to two articles I’ve written and posted on my blog, then anticipate your ill-informed and irresponsible response, so I can unload further evidence of your chicanery here.

      I resent, as a former player, your contention it’s ‘inhumane’ to debunk the stale, recycled garbage about ‘Safer Football.’ You only misinform, sir, to further recruit or sell witless parents and children on this brutal game.

      I’m not saying ban the game, for I don’t care what you people decide, once its off my taxpayer and insurance expenses.

      Foremost, as an ex-prep and -college player who suffered paralyzing leg-foot injury and witnessed catastrophic outcomes in young guys I knew personally, including death, blood clots, brain bleed, organ rupture and spinal paralysis, I want factual, honest disclaimer of modern tackle football’s myriad dangers–like heatstroke, that isn’t documented a century ago, because preseason practice didn’t begin until September–by everyone selling this stupid blood sport.

      Then, by the way, your side can begin turning legal responsibility back onto players and parents, as you seek to do so presently.

      **Modern Med Prevents 100 Football Deaths, Likely More**
      Only Trauma Care, Not ‘Safer’ Football, Foils Annual Massacre

      Grave Injury, Costs Still Hit Hundreds of Families, Many Schools

      Cantu and Mueller Refuse Redress for Faulty UNC Studies

      By Matt Chaney


      Wednesday, February 15, 2012

      Rest uneasy, American parents, because tackle football remains barbaric like 1905.

      Modern helmets and pads accomplish nothing for your players except heightening ferocity of their collisions, injury and pain.

      No, President Teddy Roosevelt didn’t save football way back when. He didn’t alter ridiculous dangers and set the game on saner course, as goes the fairytale largely borne by officials and sport media.

      And certainly nothing is changing today for better health of football players. New equipment and football-funded “research” do not create safe environment in the blood sport.

      Officials and associate “experts” never have reformed football dangers, which they cannot believe possible. Their historic smokescreens begin with the folk hero “T.R.”

      Roosevelt only preserved football against abolitionists a century ago, cloaking and sanitizing football’s barbaric nature for public perception and consumption.

      The wily politician appointed a body of bureaucrats as overseers that became the NCAA, which tells us everything, while passing along his magic phrase: “safer football.”

      And the sport carried on in rising popularity, cresting as entertainment monolith and predominant cultural force, endorsed by every vital institution—but now facing lawsuits by the dozens.

      Because football remains utterly dangerous, amounting to simple mass carnage, and likely worse than ever, given case notes on 23 deaths of 1905 collected and posted by game historian and blogger Tom Benjey.

      Juxtapose Benjey’s collection for comparison to 219 casualty cases for 2011—see annotated cases in my Feb. 12 post on ChaneysBlog—and the violence of football in notorious 1905 seems quaint, if not “safer.”

      Setting all cases on equal response terms, the primitive medicine of 1905—or leaving state-of-art trauma care out of the equation—football today would kill hundreds annually or more, given both the publicized grave casualties and the assuredly large number undisclosed in public for numerous limitations on information (see my recent posts).

      And while head injuries dominate current debate over football, blows to torso and legs are likewise lethal.

      So-called “proper” techniques of hitting, allegedly to avoid head contact, resolve nothing by encouraging players to strike below necklines.

      Body shots have always mutilated and killed players. In fact, internal injury led causes of death that Benjey accumulated for 1905 fatality cases, not brain or spinal trauma, among reports from period newspapers and magazines.

      Deaths such as 1 player killed of kidney rupture and 1 of heart laceration from fractured ribs, suffered in football collisions that year.

      In comparing 2011 football deaths, 26 case leads that I located online, no autopsy cited organ rupture and bleeding as causal agent.

      I found, however, 50 football survivors of organ trauma in 2011, nasty injuries ranging from severe to catastrophic for lung, kidney, liver and spleen. Many victims are still recovering.

      At least half required emergency surgery to control internal hemorrhaging, according to details available in Google banks, and apparently would’ve died a century ago for lack of effective medicine and care.

      In another category, non-cerebral blood clots, the condition killed at least 1 football player in 1905 and at least 2 in 2011, all developing from leg injuries.

      Last year at least 12 players survived non-cerebral blood clots originating of collision and owe their lives to modern medical response, including athletic trainers, paramedics and ER surgeons.

      Many more football survivors of bodily catastrophe in 2011 would’ve faced stark odds or hopelessness for survival in 1905, including for heatstroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, compartment syndrome, brain bleeding, neck fracture and deadly infection (antibiotics weren’t introduced until World War II).

      In sum, among known grave casualties last year, more than 100 football players would’ve succumbed with a 1905 medical response, not only the 20 or so who died.

      READ MORE:

      **219 Football Casualties Severe to Fatal in America 2011**
      Online Review Produces Unprecedented Collection of Gridiron Mishaps

      By Matt Chaney

      Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012

      Last fall in Oklahoma, athletic trainer Dan Dodson saw the horrific side of tackle football become manifest.

      Grave injury struck down three teen players under Dodson’s watch, leaving one dead, from one team.

      In a span of barely three weeks, Edmond North High School became site of perhaps the worst cluster of acute casualties in known history of American football.

      Junior player Ryan Smith died on Oct. 12, likely of blood clots originating from leg fractures that the 16-year-old suffered at football practice the day before.

      Two weeks later, sophomore Dillian Barrett, 15, was hammered in a collision during practice at Edmond North, breaking a rib that caused lacerations of his liver and spleen.

      Then, on Nov. 4, sophomore player John Liles took a lethal blow at practice, damaging internal organs, and the 15-year-old underwent emergency surgery for removing spleen and part of his pancreas.

      Questions rose in aftermath about Edmond North football, seeking explanation for the team’s catastrophic injuries, and school trainer Dan Dodson pointed to obvious culprit in the sport itself.

      “It is a lot of injuries from one school,” Dodson conceded for KFOR-TV, “but you gotta look at the nature of the sport they’re playing. Football is a violent-contact sport.”


      No matter how football advocates always spin the violence, regardless their talk of solutions always in progress, the tackle sport rolls on as predictable mass carnage, maiming players by the thousands annually, killing far too many—and at much higher rates than acknowledged by game officials, associate researchers and the adoring public.

      This report presents an unprecedented collection of injuries surrounding football in a given year, 219 cases ranging from severe to fatal during 2011, with the large majority juveniles. The list is comprised strictly of information available in Google banks.

      The annotated cases below are 193 survivor casualties and 26 fatalities, with players ranging in age from 5 years old to 50 and including 1 female.

      Here is the breakdown by category of injury or diagnosed condition, in listed order, of these cases located for American football during 2011:

      *4 survivors of “compartment syndrome,” including 1 with leg amputation.

      *8 survivors of heatstroke or related illness.

      *12 survivors of non-cerebral blood clots mostly originating from leg fractures.

      *16 survivors of lung collapse or injury.

      *12 survivors of kidney rupture, bruising or malfunction.

      *6 survivors of liver laceration.

      *15 survivors of spleen rupture or injury.

      *1 boy who survived numerous internal injuries.

      *2 survivors of facial fracturing, including injury to orbital sockets.

      *5 players hospitalized in critical care for infection, including MRSA.

      *1 case of knee injury involving paralysis of the peripheral peroneal nerve.

      *8 survivors of cardiac arrest or condition and 1 survivor of heart attack.

      *17 survivors of brain bleeding requiring surgery, with about half of them still in recovery.

      *2 survivors of vessel rupture and stroke requiring surgery, including 1 yet in recovery.

      *4 survivors of brain bleeding requiring hospitalization without surgery, including at least 1 yet in recovery.

      *1 survivor of brain seizure requiring surgery, caused by a congenital artery tangle known as AVM, with rehabilitation underway.

      *2 survivors of head and/or neck injury causing nerve damage.

      *1 survivor of skull fracture.

      *5 additional survivors of severe or catastrophic head injury or condition.

      *20 spinal cases requiring surgery, largely for stabilizing vertebral fractures, including at least 6 victims experiencing continuing paralysis for insult of the spinal-cord nerve bundle.

      *49 spinal injuries of no paralysis that did not require surgery, with large majority of cases involving fracturing of vertebral column.

      *1 survivor of staph infection in spinal column, no paralysis.

      *26 fatality cases surrounding tackle football in 2011, a collection first reported last week in this space, including 23 players and 1 coach, 1 referee and 1 cheerleader, .

      This report makes no claim of epidemiological quality on American football beyond the apparently reliable scope of death numbers generating from news accounts every year, available particularly through electronic search.

      Among categories above, an untold large number of football injuries goes undisclosed every year, and Google cannot include all reports by local news media, which in turn only publicize a fraction of casualties and typically sidelined players of prominence, like varsity starters in a prep program. The majority of juvenile survivors below were standout players already making news in their local regions, prior injury.

  2. Robert A. Arnone, D.C. August 28, 2012 / 07:33

    Another huge reason why The NFL and The Sport of Football at any level are in need of help in order to keep the participants safer.
    On one hand there is changing of the game (which likely ends up decreasing the fanbase and potentially eliminating the sport) or doing a better job of examining and helping the player before the start of the season and therefore before any injuries occur.
    We have a very unique, safe and effective method of helping the athlete after concussion but would be best if done beforehand.
    If anyone knows Roger Goodell and could get me 15 minutes with him, I believe we could help The League as well as keep the sport intact moving into the future.

    • Matt Chaney August 28, 2012 / 09:24

      Mr. Arnone, chiropractor, what are you referring to as a ‘safe and effective method’ in either treating or preventing a brain trauma in predominantly and irreparably zero-contact tackle football? Please enlighten us and, don’t worry, you can sell it to Dollar Roger Goodell.

    • Glenn,

      Suggest you reread what I wrote and critically (objectively) reflect upon the contents…including the definitions and antonyms provided.

      Emotional terms such as “cruel and inhumane” you employ to support your opinions grossly ignore the reality of both the minimizing and corresponding adverse implications of sport injuries noted below:

      ” Athletes are endangered, exposed, and susceptible to injury…yet these injuries are being minimized or accepted as “part of the game”…and often without a critical examination of the financial, physical, emotional and social costs of sport-related injuries. “

  3. Steve August 28, 2012 / 09:41

    “doing a better job of examining and helping the player before the start of the season and therefore before any injuries occur.
    We have a very unique, safe and effective method of helping the athlete after concussion but would be best if done beforehand”

    All oral appliance are not the same, medical oversight is imperative

    Copy and paste link


    • Dustin Fink August 28, 2012 / 10:42

      Once again Maher trying to trumpet useless information… Mr. Picot you will be interested in the very next post coming up… I hope your labs are next on the FTC visit list…

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