Though this is somewhat a follow up to what we’ve previously written about concussions involving athletes (and, in particular, former professional football players), this appears to be a continuous story with no happy ending in sight. It now appears that over 3,000 former players are involved brain injury and concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL.
As of the middle of this month, there have been 135 cases filed involving 3,402 players. The players involved range from journeymen to those inducted into the Hall of Fame. At least one player involved is a former kicker. In addition to the NFL, a helmet manufacturer has also been named a defendant to these lawsuits.
It is asserted in these lawsuits that the NFL attempted to conceal the long-term impacts of the concussion injuries suffered by the players. The league will attempt to counter such claims by asserting that players assumed the risk by entering the gridiron, and that such players contributed to their own injuries by not always reporting what had occurred.
The NFL may also claim that it has implemented various safety measures to prevent injury, and that other factors may have contributed to the brain injuries that such players have suffered. Such defenses may prove legally difficult, and it will take experienced personal injury attorneys to counter what the NFL alleges.
Whether the players will be able to make a case against the NFL will needs to be established by the courts. The outcome of such a case could affect how brain injury cases are decided in New Jersey and across the country. And though it’s easy to dismiss the injuries suffered by such players as being minor in nature, such types of concussion are now associated with constant headaches, emotional difficulties and depression suffered by such players.
Source: Sporting News, “NFL could lose billions in player lawsuits,” by Glenn M. Wong, August 22, 2012