The ongoing legal dispute between the NFL and current and former professional football players continues. As we reported, last summer 75 former NFL football players filed a lawsuit against the NFL seeking unspecified damages for head injuries that were sustained over the course of their careers. The players allege that the NFL knew of the harmful risks associated with multiple concussions as early as the 1920s, but did not disclose this information to players until 2010. The lawsuit also named Riddell, the popular football helmet manufacturer, as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Most recently, as discussed in this article, hundreds of former NFL players have filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL in a federal court in Philadelphia alleging that they were deceived about the risks of concussions and that the NFL failed to warn players about the risks of possible brain damage if they returned to play before concussion symptoms had concluded. The players seek damages and medical monitoring for medical conditions that were caused by head trauma, including memory loss, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
“Research since the 1970s has shown if you get one concussion, you’re twice as likely to get another,” Craig Mitnick, an attorney involved in the case, has said. “The NFL acted, as we believe, not only negligently, but they committed fraud by not disclosing information.”
The NFL has only spoken on the issue in a statement that reads: “The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so,” the statement read. “Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league’s actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.” The NFL Players Association had no comment.
In addition, according to this article by ESPN, the NFL Players Union and the NFL are both investigating claims that certain players on the New Orleans Saints participated in a “bounty program,” whereby players were allegedly rewarded for intentionally injuring opponents and knocking them out of the game. Specifically, the NFL has stated that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams allegedly ran an improper pay-for performance pool that paid bonuses for big plays and hits that forced opponents from the game due to injury.
Head injuries, including concussions, are a serious medical condition that should not be overlooked or understated. As we discussed in this post, the Federal Trade Commission has been investigating the marketing practices and claims of Riddell and other leading helmet manufacturers. The effects of traumatic brain injuries can be exacerbated if they go ignored for too long. If you or a loved one experiences a head injury, such as a concussion, medical attention should be obtained immediately.