Dozens of recent law suits filed by former N.F.L. players are claiming that the league did not properly inform, or even give merit to, the dangers of multiple concussions and brain injuries through a player’s career. Over 120 players have filed suit against the N.F.L. and helmet manufacturers claiming that they intentionally hid the risks of multiple brain injuries to one’s health.
According to Larry Coben, the lawyer for Jim McMahon, former Chicago Bears quarterback who lead them to a SuperBowl in 1986, states in the New York Times that, “We believe that the long-term medical complications that have been associated with multiple concussions — such as memory loss, impulse anger-control problems, disorientation, dementia — were well documented, and that factually the N.F.L. knew or should have known of these potentially devastating neurological problems, and yet it didn’t take any active role in addressing the issue for players,”
Suits will claim that N.F.L. doctors produced faulty research on the topic, and actually hid the potential dangers of multiple brain injuries as recently as 2007. In an excerpt from a pamphlet created by the N.F.L. and associated Doctors it claims that two or more concussions do not conclusively lead to permanent damage. “Current research with professional athletes has not shown that having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is treated properly.” The league left open the question of “if there are any long-term effects of concussion in N.F.L. athletes.”
However Brad Carp, a consultant for the League claims that the N.F.L. always had the best intentions for their players health, “The N.F.L. has long made player safety a priority and continues to take steps to protect players and to advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions. The N.F.L. has never misled players with respect to the risks associated with playing football. Any suggestion to the contrary has no merit.”
This controversy leads to a lot of bad publicity for the league. Former stars are now permanently crippled, with emotional and physical issues. These players are now suing their teams and the league. To many fans this is disheartening, seeing their idols wrecked with medical issues, and suing their former employers just to be able to pay medical bills
The league will hope to either settle or get most of these cases dismissed from court. They potentially represent millions of dollars in settlements and years of bad publicity, not to mention oversight to its practices.
“I don’t think the N.F.L. can consider these cases nuisances,” said Mark Conrad, who teaches sports law at Fordham University. “They will take them seriously because if it goes the wrong way, it could be a bombshell.”
If any of these cases do go to court the NFL will try and get them to be heard all by one judge, as to eliminate inconsistencies with outlier judges. If these cases do go to court under one suit, they will be moved to the Pennsylvania Eastern Federal Court district located in Philadelphia.