Serious Injury: The NFL and Brain Concussions
New twist in personal injury liability: 75 former NFL players have sued the National Football League claiming that it had concealed the danger of concussions from its coaches, players, trainers and general public since it first learned of the harmful effects of concussions in the 1920s. The NFL only warned active players in June of 2010. According to the suit, the NFL knew for decades that multiple blows to the head can cause long-term brain injury but fraudulently denied it. The suit states that the NFL established the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee in 1994 to study the risk of long-term brain injury to players. The former players contend the committee published “false, distorted and deceiving findings” that the risk was minimal in order to deceive Congress, players and the public. The suit also names helmet-maker Riddell, the NFL’s official helmet supplier as an additional defendant.
Brain concussions are defined as movements of the brain inside the skull resulting from an impact. Most personal injury claims are for concussions sustained as the result of impact from a motor vehicle accident. Research indicates that multiple concussions may cause or contribute to future problems such as dementia, headaches, memory loss, blurred vision, sleeplessness and ringing in the ears. Some of the NFL players claim that their concussions have caused depression, anxiety, “explosive mood changes”, poor judgment and substance abuse.
This promises to be a landmark case having a huge impact in personal injury litigation as it pertains to brain injuries. Grazian and Volpe will be monitoring this case closely to see if findings can assist in helping its clients who are victims of brain concussions to obtain damages for present brain injuries and future and likely to occur damages and needed treatments.