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?
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 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
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
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
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
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
Matt Chaney has written on the issues surrounding football – legally – mainly at the juvenile level. In this lengthy blog post (found HERE) Chaney talks about;
- Football Lawsuits Surge Against Schools
- Court Defenses and Safety Concepts Hardly Shield Juvenile Football
- ‘Concussion Testing’ Unlikely to Prove Valid in Court as Diagnostic
- Various Injuries and Issues Pose Legal Bombs for Juvenile Football
- Should Juveniles Play Tackle Football in America?
As with about everything that Chaney has produced it is WELL WORTH the read and time. Below is the topic on the “concussion testing”, I have taken the entire chapter with permission from Chaney; Continue reading
With the most recent filing it brings the total number to approximately 960 former players; Mark Rypien might be the biggest known name as a former Super Bowl MVP but there are other players in the suit as well. Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports wrote about the recent suit, noteworthy in the article are the quotes from Tony Mandarich. Mandarich claims this is not a money grab and has joined the suit because he feels the NFL knew of lasting damage during his playing days and it was never disclosed;
“My main objective is, if they knew about it, they should have been disclosed to us,” Mandarich said. “It would have probably prompted more action like [there is] today in the NFL.”
Mandarich estimated that he suffered six or seven concussions during his six-year career, and as a result, he’s become yet another cautionary tale in the battle to further concussion awareness.
“I don’t want to say recently, but for years I have taken medication for [depression],” Mandarich told Weber. Mandarich also said he also suffers from short-term memory loss and affected speech.
The last comment hits home for me, Continue reading
Matt Chaney, who has been critical of the establishment on various subjects including concussions highlights what Jim McMahon and his group of NFL’ers have been saying in preparations for the law suits aimed at the league. The following excerpt from a Chaney post on his blog appeared in June of 2011, prior to all the suits (bold my emphasis);
Doctors and medical researchers have long agreed boxing can cause brain damage in athletes and lead to personality disorders and outbursts, through repetitive impacts both concussive and sub-concussive.
A 1973 study on postmortem evidence of 15 ex-pro boxers who suffered “punch-drunk syndrome” documented their “violent behavior and rage reaction” through interviews of relatives. Several of the boxers died in psychiatric wards.
Decades earlier, boxers who became demented and deranged were known as “slug nutty,” according to a 1928 report by Dr. Harrison Martland.
Meanwhile, yet today, the NFL and loyalist experts loathe admitting that tackle football even causes long-term impairment, much less off-field violence by players and chaos for families. Continue reading
“We knew what was going on with pretty much every other part of the body,” McMahon said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “We knew there was going to be a chance for injury. But we didn’t know about the head trauma. And they did, and that’s the whole reason for this lawsuit. . . . They knew about it and they didn’t tell us. That’s like looking in your face and lying to you. Flat-out lying.”
As reported from various sources after his appearance on ESPN’s OTL, this one via ProFootballTalk, Jim McMahon has set the stage for what the law suits against the NFL basically involve. The league denies hiding any information from the players, which to this observer is “technically” correct up until the early 2000’s. However what the didn’t know was available for them to find out, as papers and research articles about compounding head trauma has been available since early in the 1900’s (see dementia pugilistica).
Regardless, I am not here to fight for or against these law suits, the interview with McMahon was very disturbing to hear and see Continue reading
It is still very early in the concussion issue – called an epidemic by the CDC – however this has not stopped people seeking damages against schools and institutions for perceived wrong doings. These suits are based on the proper protection of the individual injured, you can see the multiple former NFL players filing suit for examples. However, there are some that fly under the radar, well because they are not high paid athletes.
One such case in California was just settled and reading the article brings chills down my spine as an athletic trainer for adolescents; Continue reading
Craig Mitnick is representing more than 200 former players is taking his case to the court of public opinion. He recently released a video outlining the case and where the players have a leg to stand on. Ultimately this will be settled in the actual courts, however if you have two minutes you can listen to Mr. Mitnick. If you choose to follow-up you can do so at their website as well at Playerinjury.com.
Interviewer: Is there any evidence, as far as you’re concerned, that links multiple head injuries among pro football players with depression?
Interviewer: With dementia?
Interviewer: With early onset of Alzheimer’s?
Interviewer: Is there any evidence as of today that links multiple head injuries with any long-term problem like that?
Casson: In NFL players?
The above is not a made up story, in fact it is on video for everyone to see and make their own judgements. Patrick Hruby of Yahoo! Sports and “The Post Game.” has written yet ANOTHER very good article about concussions. This one delves into the hot water the NFL is finding itself in; if not in court then in public opinion – if anyone cares to look at the information. Continue reading
Sometime today Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), headed by Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski are going to release a “white paper” that will “plan to spread successful NFL policy changes to all youth sports,” this according to Irvin Muchnick via his blog Concussion Inc.
What is a white paper? Glad you asked it is important for context (via Wikipedia);
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and may be a consultation as to the details of new legislation. The publishing of a white paper signifies a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law. White Papers are a ” … tool of participatory democracy … not [an] unalterable policy commitment. “White Papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them.”
It is mentioned that along with SLI, Boston University’s Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (headed by Dr. Ann McKee) will be in the white paper as well.
I will be interested to see what exactly they are Continue reading
There are many and they seem to be coming at a furious pace, it is hard to keep up with them. However thanks to Paul D. Anderson, you can go to one spot to find out about each one of them.
I could sit here and opine about how/who/what, but that does really no good. There are too many questions, one that should not be overlooked is if/when the research was caught up enough to make proper safety information available to the players.
Here is the website, titled NFL Concussion Litigation. You can also follow Paul @PaulD_Anderson.