All too often in litigation, the lawyers, shamefully, forget about the victims that will be impacted by the outcome of a case. That is especially true in class actions where there are often thousands of absent class members that may never appear before the court. Fortunately, there is a system in place that seeks to ensure that all voices may be heard.
That is the process that will play out in Philadelphia on November 19th in the NFL Concussion Litigation. The Fairness Hearing will provide class members and their lawyers an opportunity to appear before the Court and set forth the reasons why the proposed settlement is unfair, unreasonable, inadequate, arbitrary and inequitable. In anticipation of the hearing, class members were able to submit written objections.
What follows, in no particular order, are quotes from some of the heartfelt objections drafted by former players and their loved ones.
My objection is to the way in which the offer uses the player’s age at diagnosis to calculate the Monetary Award for that player according to the proposed Monetary Award Grid. This approach actually rewards the NFL for the very actions it is being sued for…No one outside the League knows who at the NFL knew what information about head injury and subsequent neurological damage or in what year it was know and with the settlement agreement, the public may never know these facts…Ironically, in the preliminarily approved agreement, the NFL will again save millions of dollars due directly to those early deceptive tactics and inside knowledge that perhaps goes back to the 1980s or even 1970s….However, if one estimates that just half of the 150 disabled players were formally diagnosed at an older age, over age 54, but like my husband and many other former players, had been undiagnosed disease for years prior, then the NFL’s deceit has the potential to save it many millions of dollars and deny a reasonable award to many who are in dire need. – Dr. Eleanor Perfecto, widow of Ralph Wenzel (Entire Objection can be found here)
My initial contacts with the NFL Player Care Foundation, were among the stymied efforts. Primary care physicians were often dismissive and indifferent to my husband’s symptoms and needs. – Dr. Mary Hawkins, wife of Ross Hawkins (Entire Objection can be found here)
The proposed settlement fails to honor those on whose shoulder the NFL organization stands, namely deceased NFL football players that have suffered from CTE…Dale retired from the NFL in 1968…But, in 1981 at the age of 48 Dale began experiencing symptoms of CTE and within 6 month was incapable of fulfilling his job duties, nonverbal, suffering from memory loss, aggressive and unable to care for himself…For his family, it was devastating to watch the mental deterioration and frightening to think of what harm he might do to himself or others…Carmerita contacted the NFL and explained Dale’s condition. Carmerita asked if any other retired NFL players were experiencing similar demential and personality issues and she was given a firm “No” by NFL staff. In addition, Carmerita was told by NFL staff that Dale could not receive disability benefits because she couldn’t prove that his dementia was caused by playing football…The proposed settlement is ambiguous and unfair regarding players that died prior to January 1, 2006. Players that died prior to 2006 have never received benefits from the NFL Mackey 88 Plan to compensate for the cost of dementia nor had access to sufficient research regarding CTE to litigate the existence, causation and effect on their personal health. The players in the 1960′s made so little money compared to the unknown risk of becoming mentally incapacitated at an early age by football related dementia…The proposed settlement agreement provides a unique opportunity for the NFL football organization with current annual profits of $10 billion to recognize and reimburse those who innocently risked their quality of life and mental health to benefit the current NFL dynasty of today. – Personal Representative for the Estate of Dale Meinert (Entire Objection can be found here)
CTE is a direct result of head trauma. I feel it should be ahead of ALS because it has not been proven that ALS is a direct result of head trauma where CTE has been proven to be a direct result from head trauma. My father was in stage 4 of CTE. – Scott Gilchrist, son of “Cookie” Gilchrist (Entire Objection can be found here)
I have carefully read the NFL Concussion Settlement Notice documents several times and still find them extremely convoluted and confusing. Even after reviewing the Notice documents with the substantial help of a savvy and experienced legal advisor, I find the proposed structure illogical and unrealistic…The offer to ‘uncap’ the payout is really nothing more than a red herring – designed for public consumption and to confuse as many retired players as possible. It doesn’t affect the NFL’s ‘exposure’ one iota, as long as the compensation discount factors and class exclusions remain! – Eugene Moore (Entire Objection can be found here)
The settlement does not fairly compensate the older players who cannot take care of themselves…The NFL should compensate these older players who paved the way for the financial success the NFL enjoys today…I grieve for my father because he has been mentally gone for a long, long time. He and other older players should be compensated. – Personal Representative of Joseph P. O’Malley (Entire Objection can be found here)
Football is big business, and we need to recognize that in entering into this settlement, the NFL has made a business decision…The settlement is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons, and is calculated to ensure that the vast majority of retired football players who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases will receive little if any monetary compensation. At the same time, those players will forever release claims potentially worth millions of dollars. – Darren Carrington (Entire Objection can be found here)
I’m writing to suggest that CTE be addressed in living players because there is technology being developed that will diagnose that condition if not now somewhere in the near future. The settlement only addresses CTE when a player dies [Editor's note, but only if you died before July 2014] and I think the court should have a clause in the settlement that will allow players to be compensated while they are still alive to take advantage of the benefits. It seems an injustice not to consider CTE in a living player because we cannot enjoy the benefits dead. – Judson Flint (Entire Objection can be found here)
My husband has been incapacitated for five years and has lived in a nursing home. For several years before he was moved, we had caregivers in our home. And for years before that, we living with the knowledge that something terrible was wrong with him–but during those years, we lived in a state of denial, not wanting to accept what the future would hold.In today’s world, our thought process would be totally different. - Ruth Daniel, wife of William P. Daniel (Entire Objection can be found here)
Responsibility for a player’s health and physical welfare has been extremely lacking since the beginning, from the equipment used to attitude. The old but true expression of, “They use you, abuse you, and throw you out” was known by all and experienced by most. Doing the ‘right’ thing cost too much, and money was, and is now, the name of the game. Injured player are expendable. – Larry Barnes (Entire Objection can be found here)
While the thought of the suit is great, there are many things about it that are unfair to our future. Not only is it not fair to us as a player, but to our families as well. – Justin Green (Entire Objection can be found here)
I’m sure you can relate to my pain and suffering even to imagine what life would be without your child or spouse and watch them suffer from a brain disease or head trauma due to the negligence of an organization to fail to release information to prevent the suffering and death of many. Had the research been made public many years ago, these tragedies could have been prevented. – Debra Pyka (Entire Objection can be found here)
Finally, the schedule for Wednesday’s Fairness Hearing is proposed as follows:
- The NFL and Class Counsel will go first;
- Second, the Sean Morey Objectors will argue for 65 minutes, followed by 70 minutes of arguments from other objecting lawyers;
- Third, class members (including players and their families) will have an opportunity to speak. The following individuals are scheduled to address the Court: Ben Utecht, Mary Hawkins, Rebecca Carpenter, Gene Moore, Tregg Duerson and Eleanor Perfetto; and
- Fourth, the NFL and Class Counsel will get a rebuttal.
In a tour de force, the Sean Morey, et al. Objectors filed a lengthy Objection today. It can be found here. Included in the filing is a declaration from the foremost expert on clinical CTE. Neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Stern rips the proposed NFL Concussion Settlement – and backs it up with cold, hard facts. His recently filed declaration can be found here.
Here are some of the highlights.
I am confident that within the next five to ten years there will be highly accurate, clinically accepted, and FDA-approved methods to diagnose CTE during life.
Meanwhile, the proposed settlement eliminates awards for all future claims for CTE – living or dead.
Several key symptoms of CTE that are identified in the scientific and medical literature and in my clinical and research experience are not compensable.
The Test Battery, set forth in Exhibit 2 of the Settlement, is not appropriate for evaluating whether retired professional football players have neurodegenerative diseases such as CTE or Alzheimer’s disease…The specific tests selected, and the length of the battery would not be consistent with that given by the large majority of neuropyschologists who specialize in neurodegenerative disease and who evaluate patients for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
It is my scientific opinion, based on the medical and scientific literature and on my own clinical and research experience, that reliance on effort measures included in the Neuropsychological Test Battery would unfairly deprive at least some otherwise eligible person with measurable cognitive deficits of compensation.
To be eligible for compensation under Neurocognitive Impairment Level 1.5 or 2.0, the Class Member would have to be so severely impaired in several areas of cognitive functioning that they would require assistance in many activities of daily living (in level 1.5) or be almost fully dependent on another person for most activities of daily living, such as bathing and toileting (for level 2.0).
The Objectors summarize,
This complex procedural framework is a transparent attempt to minimize the cost of the settlement to the NFL - a consideration of tremendous importance now that the Settlement is purportedly uncapped.
The NCAA has failed. Michigan has failed. Brady Hoke has failed.
Shane Morris was abused. His health and safety was recklessly disregarded. And for what? Michigan was taking a shellacking. Morris’ brain and body took a needless beating.
ESPN’s announcers, Ed Cunningham and Mike Patrick, declared Michigan’s incompetence multiple times:
Ed: THEY HAVE GOT TO GET HIM OUT OF THE BALL GAME!
Mike: I’M TOTALLY WITH YOU. HE HAS GOT TO COME OUT. I MEAN, HE WAS WOBBLY AFTER THAT. FORGET THE LIMPING.
Ed: YOU’VE GOT TO EJECT THIEREN COCKRAN. THAT IS TARGETING. HE DROPS HIS HEAD. HE LAUNCHES. IF IT’S FORCIBLE CONTACT AND IT MOVES UP INTO THE HEAD AREA, I CANNOT BELIEVE COCKRAN WAS NOT CALLED FOR TARGETING AND NOT ONLY EJECTED FROM THIS GAME BUT THEN HE WOULD BE EJECTED FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE SECOND. YOU HAVE TO CALL THAT A TARGETING PENALTY.
Mike: THAT CERTAINLY LOOKED LIKE IT.
Ed: I CAN TELL YOU THAT NUMBER 7 IS STILL IN THIS GAME IS APPALLING. IT IS APPALLING THAT HE WAS LEFT IN ON THAT PLAY. TO THROW THE BALL AGAIN AND AS BADLY AS HE WAS HIT BY COCKRAN AND COCKRAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN EJECTED AND MISSED THE REST OF THIS GAME AND NEXT WEEK.
Concerned spectators took to Twitter and unleashed their fury with Michigan’s gross incompetence:
I can't believe Shane Morris was allowed to stay in the #Michigan game. Are there no concussion regulations in college? Just stunning.
— Ryan Flaherty (@TheRyanFlaherty) September 27, 2014
As awful as Michigan has been, Brady Hoke should be fired for putting a QB with a possible (and likely) concussion back in the game.
— Charlie Hannema (@CharlieHannema) September 27, 2014
Brady Hoke inexcusably let Shane Morris take a beating without evaluating him for a concussion. http://t.co/9cAcw6BhuJ
— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) September 28, 2014
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) September 28, 2014
Look at this photo and tell me he is not concussed, TELL ME. (Photo Credit: Leon Halip, USA TODAY) pic.twitter.com/FNR75YG2Sv
— Joshua Henschke (@JoshuaHenschke) September 28, 2014
Leaving Shane Morris in for that long given how visibly injured he was is a fireable offense. No ifs, ands, or buts.
— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) September 27, 2014
But this is exactly how the NCAA envisions its concussion policy to work. “When in doubt, get checked out.” In other words, unless a player makes a self-diagnosis of a concussion, he is not coming out.
The entire world expressed doubt. Hoke directed Morris to return to play because, in Hoke’s words, Morris didn’t stay down.
I don’t know if he had a concussion or not, I don’t know that…. Shane’s a pretty competitive, tough kid. And Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so, believe me, if he didn’t want to be he would’ve come to the sideline or stayed down. – Brady Hoke
Every player wants to play – they have been conditioned their entire lives to “play through pain” and to obey their coaches.
Hoke’s response punctuates why the NCAA’s concussion policy is a failure.
First, the toothless concussion management plan places the responsibility for reporting injuries on the student-athletes. The same student-athlete who is experiencing amnesia, who is not thinking clearly, or more bluntly, who is suffering from a brain injury.
Second, Hoke admits he does not know how to identify obvious signs and symptoms of an apparent concussion – certainly Morris’ injuries were enough to trigger doubt.
Meanwhile, Hoke – who is paid more than $2 million a year – articulated the NCAA’s defense in concussion lawsuits: It’s the player’s fault. We are not responsible.
And, of course, the NCAA won’t take any action. The NCAA won’t investigate. The NCAA won’t inquire with Michigan as to why a player’s life was put in jeopardy. Nope. The NCAA apparently has more important things to do than to live up to its founding purpose of protecting student-athletes.
One last note, Hoke’s actions arguably constitute a fireable offense pursuant to his contract,
“The University has the right to terminate the employment of the Head Coach for cause in the event of only the following…(c) Conduct of Head Coach which offends public decency or morality as shall be determined by the standards prevailing in the community…(g) Fraud or willful malfeasance in the performance of any duties or responsibilities under this Agreement.”
What say you? Were you outraged? Were you offended?
Let’s see how concerned Michigan is with the health and safety of its student-athletes.
Update – September 30, 7:59 am
Public outrage forces Michigan’s hand. Michigan’s athletic director issued a lengthy statement early Tuesday morning. It essentially admits that Michigan’s policies failed and that Morris did, indeed, suffer a concussion. The full statement from Dave Brandon is below:
Ultimate responsibility for the health and safety of our student-athletes resides with each team’s coach and with me, as the Director of Athletics. We are committed to continuously improving our procedures to better protect the health and welfare of our student-athletes.
I have had numerous meetings since Sunday morning to thoroughly review the situation that occurred at Saturday’s football game regarding student-athlete Shane Morris. I have met with those who were directly involved and who were responsible for managing Shane’s care and determining his medical fitness for participation.
In my judgment, there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline. Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes. I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.
I have worked with Darryl Conway, my Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Health and Welfare, to develop a detailed accounting of the events that occurred. Darryl is the person who oversees all athletic training personnel and serves as the liaison to the physicians we work with through the University of Michigan Health System and University Health Services.
It is important to note that our athletic trainers and physicians working with Michigan Athletics have the unchallengeable authority to remove student-athletes from the field of play. Michigan Athletics has numerous medical professionals at every football competition including certified athletic trainers and several physicians from various relevant specialties.
I, along with Darryl and our administrative and medical teams, have spent much of the last two days carefully reviewing the situation regarding Shane Morris. We now understand that, despite having the right people on the sidelines assessing our student-athletes’ well being, the systems we had in place were inadequate to handle this unique and complex situation properly.
With his permission, I can share that Shane Morris suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter of Saturday’s game. He was evaluated for that injury by an orthopedic surgeon and an athletic trainer several times during the game. With each of these evaluations it was determined that his ankle injury did not prevent him from playing.
In the fourth quarter, Shane took a significant hit and stumbled after getting up. From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury. The team neurologist, watching from further down the field, also did not see the hit. However, the neurologist, with expertise in detecting signs of concussion, saw Shane stumble and determined he needed to head down the sideline to evaluate Shane.
Shane came off the field after the following play and was reassessed by the head athletic trainer for the ankle injury. Since the athletic trainer had not seen the hit to the chin and was not aware that a neurological evaluation was necessary, he cleared Shane for one additional play.
The neurologist and other team physicians were not aware that Shane was being asked to return to the field, and Shane left the bench when he heard his name called and went back into the game. Under these circumstances, a player should not be allowed to re-enter the game before being cleared by the team physician. This clearly identifies the need for improvements in our sideline and communication processes.
Following the game, a comprehensive concussion evaluation was completed and Shane has been evaluated twice since the game. As of Sunday, Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain. That probable concussion diagnosis was not at all clear on the field on Saturday or in the examination that was conducted post-game. Unfortunately, there was inadequate communication between our physicians and medical staff and Coach Hoke was not provided the updated diagnosis before making a public statement on Monday. This is another mistake that cannot occur again.
Going forward, we have identified two changes in our procedures that we will implement immediately:
We will have an athletic medicine professional in the press box or video booth to ensure that someone will have a bird’s eye view of the on-field action, have television replay available and have the ability to communicate with medical personnel on the sidelines.
We are also examining how to reinforce our sideline communication processes and how decisions will be made in order to make sure that information regarding student-athlete availability to participate is communicated effectively amongst the medical team and to our coaches.
We have learned from this experience, and will continue to improve ways to keep our student-athletes’ health and safety our number one priority.
After losing their bid for appellate intervention, the Sean Morey Objectors are now launching a reasonably calculated attack on the merits of the proposed settlement — through the tools of discovery.
The Objectors have propounded discovery requests on Class Counsel and the NFL relating to (a) the process by which the settlement was developed and (b) the merits of the NFL’s defenses – i.e., what the NFL knew, or should have known, about concussions. The Objectors are also seeking to depose an NFL representative on a variety of topics relating to its denial of the long-term risks of TBI. In addition, the Objectors are seeking to depose Class Counsel: Chris Seeger, Arnold Levin and Dianne Naste.
Below are the documents:
Pursuant to Judge Brody’s Order, the NFL and Class Counsel submitted the long-awaited actuarial data behind the proposed settlement. This adds more fuel to the fire that the proposed settlement is a WIN for the NFL and a significant loss for the victims – i.e. the players.
Below is the data:
In a stark admission of the deal’s lousiness, Class Counsel concedes the majority of players — unless they opt out — are giving up their right to sue in exchange for no compensation:
The overwhelming majority, approximately 15,000, are not compensated because they never contract a compensable disease. – Class Counsel’s Analysis, p. 4
On Wednesday, the Third Circuit will hear the first challenge—of presumably many to come—to the proposed NFL Concussion Settlement.
The request for review was lodged by the so-called Sean Morey Intervenors who have publicly challenged the settlement’s terms on numerous fronts.
The NFL and Class Counsel oppose this request for review, arguing that the appeal is premature.
The Third Circuit identified the issues it intends to hear on Wednesday:
[T]he court directs counsel to be prepared to address at oral argument on September 10, 2014, whether, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(f), this court may exercise jurisdiction over an interlocutory appeal challenging settlement class certification where the lower court has issued a preliminary order conditionally certifying the class but has not yet held a final fairness hearing. Counsel also should be prepared to discuss the merits of this appeal, in addition to this jurisdictional question.
In other words, much of the argument will likely focus on a threshold procedural issue that will hinge on whether the Third Circuit has jurisdiction to hear the present dispute. Or, as the NFL and Class Counsel contend, the petition is premature and it should not be addressed until after a record is fully developed by Judge Brody; i.e., after the fairness hearing and an order granting or denying final class certification.
More importantly, the Third Circuit will also hear the merits of the appeal. This is, in essence, a full frontal attack on the proposed settlement. Sean Morey’s group asserts three central points, which they contend “doom” class certification:
1) The deal compensates only certain individuals diagnosed with CTE, while ignoring hundreds and perhaps thousands of others;
2) An award can be reduced by up to 75% if a player has suffered a stroke – despite the fact that a contributing factor could have been the NFL’s allegedly illegal administration of Toradol; and
3) Players who played in the NFL Europe – who were subject to the same fraudulent conduct and policies – will receive no credit for those seasons.
Legal minutia aside — make no mistake — this is argument is very significant.
Courtroom football is back! And it’s sure to include a long appellate season — after a hard-fought regular season in the lower court.
*Oral Arguments are scheduled to be made by the following parties:
Petitioners (aka Sean Morey, et al) – Steve Molo
NFL – Brad Karp and/or Bruce Birenboim
Class Counsel – Samuel Issacharoff
Let me play Coach – Lawyers Representing Clients in the Sports World
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 • Seminar 4:00 – 5:40 PM • Soccer Match 7:00 PM Sporting Kansas City Stadium, One Sporting Way, Kansas City, KS 66111
Credit: Missouri – 2.0 Hours / Kansas – Pending Cost: $135 KCMBA Member* $155 Non-Member*
Fee includes CLE seminar, tour of the stadium, tickets to the soccer match (Sporting KC v. Real Esteli) in the Coors Light Cold Zone, and all-inclusive food and beverages (brats, hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, soda, water, draft beer).
Register by clicking here.
Join us for a panel discussion with some of the local experts on cases they are working on, and the legal issues currently facing the sports world. We will talk to Greg Cotton from Sporting Kansas City regarding his in-house role, and delve into the recently concluded O’Bannon v. NCAA trial and the new cases filed against the NCAA and conferences such as the Big 12 seeking a free market for the payment of college athletes. We will also address the recently filed concussion cases against the NFL and the NCAA and so much more.
3:30 PM Registration
4:00 PM Seminar
5:40 PM Adjourn
7:00 PM MLS Soccer Match (Sporting Kansas City v. Real Esteli)
Leon Versfeld, Versfeld & Hugo, LLC
Greg Cotton, Sporting Kansas City
Mit Winter, Polsinelli PC
Paul D. Anderson, The Klamann Law Firm
William (Bill) C. Odle, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
As the science of concussions and their long-term effects advance, so too does the many ways in which a criminal defendant may seek to be set free.
Criminal defendants and their lawyers are looking to prior sport-related brain injuries as a causative factor for the illegal behavior.
According to the Observer-Reporter, former high school football player, Jordan Clemons, is facing the threat of the death penalty after being charged with brutally murdering his girlfriend.
Clemons’ lawyer recently filed a motion with the court citing his client’s extensive history of brain injuries, including multiple concussive and sub-concussive blows from football. His lawyer requested that a neurologist and psychologist evaluate his client.
The court, correctly, granted his request.
Clemons’ lawyer explained the purpose of his motion, “Diminished capacity is often the phrase used when a defendant’s state of mind does not meet the legal requirements for first-degree murder, which requires a premeditated, willful and deliberate killing with specific intent to kill. If capacity is diminished but a defendant is found to have committed the act, it falls to a lesser degree of murder.”
While not a complete defense, Clemons’ lawyer is seeking medical evidence to establish that his client lacked the necessary mental state to be found guilty for first-degree murder, which could potentially allow the jury to find Clemons guilty of a lesser charge such as second-degree murder. It also sets the stage for the introduction of mitigating factors if Clemons is found guilty of first-degree murder.
This could mean the difference between life in prison and death.
A recent decision by the Alaska Court of Appeals highlights the necessity of investigating a client’s brain-injury history.
In Starr v. State, A-11250, 2014 WL 2834502 (Alaska Ct. App. June 18, 2014), a woman was convicted of second-degree murder after stabbing her boyfriend. She subsequently sought post-conviction relief, contending that her lawyer provided ineffective counsel by failing to investigate her concussion history. In her motion, the defendant included an affidavit from a neuropsychologist who opined that Starr’s “behavior surrounding the stabbing was consistent with her having suffered a concussion.” Id.
In reversing the trial court’s decision to deny the defendant’s application for post-conviction relief, the Court of Appeals admonished the trial court for violating the defendant’s due process rights when it “skipped Starr’s failure-to-investigate claim…[and] deprived Starr of the opportunity to establish that she has actually suffered a concussion and that the concussion had impacted her culpability….” Id.
This case breathes new life into the word “competency.” A lawyer clearly has an ethical obligation to investigate his or her client’s brain-injury history and pursue all possible defenses.
As evidenced by the recent cases like Clemons and others, lawyers are taking this ethic seriously.
Expect Titus Young’s lawyers to assert this defense as well.
Last season a 16-year-old New York prep football player died following a helmet-to-helmet collision. Damon Janes walked to the sidelines, collapsed, and was taken to a local hospital. After 3 hours a CT scan showed bleeding in his brain and was then transported to a trauma hospital, 2 hours away. Janes succumbed to the injuries 3 days later.
After a 10-round fight, 32 year old heavy weight champion Magomed Abdusalamov allegedly told New York State Athletic Commission physicians that he did not feel right. After a neurological test that required him to read a series of numbers, they sutured a cut above his left eye and allegedly told him he had a broken nose. They allegedly advised him to have his injuries looked at by a doctor within a day or two when he returned home to Florida. What they did not realize was that Abdusalamov’s brain had already started bleeding.
The State Athletic Commission Inspector assigned to monitor Abdusalamov that night noticed blood in Abdusalamov’s urine sample after commission doctors cleared the fighter – a possible sign of internal bleeding. According to reports, he suggested Abdusalamov’s trainers hail a cab to take him to the hospital emergency department. Abdusalamov was in a coma for weeks following emergency brain surgery to remove a large blood clot hours after the fight. Abdusalamov may never walk or talk again.
Prompt medical care after a traumatic injury can be the difference between life and death — also known as the “golden hour”. The InfraScanner offers a solution to two secondary impacts of concussion: brain bleeding and excess radiation exposure from a head CT scan. These are two very real concerns that are often overlooked in discussions about concussion management.
The InfraScanner is a non-invasive portable screening device that uses near-infrared (NIR) technology to assist medical professionals with a more accurate, expedited clinical assessment of the presence or absence of an intracranial hematoma in a matter of minutes. This cutting edge device is a groundbreaking tool for TBI and concussion management. It helps determine if a patient needs to be sent to a Trauma center for a CT scan and neurosurgical intervention or kept for close observation.
One CT scan is equal to 300-400 chest x-rays to the head and has been clinically established by peer review journals to increase the likelihood of cancer. 18.7 million head CT scans are given annually. The likelihood of a positive scan in this patient group is less than 10% and may be as low as 1-3% 1. Because of a CT scan’s dangerously high levels of ionization radiation exposure known to cause cancer, the InfraScanner will lead to better patient care while at the same time reducing healthcare costs.
The InfraScanner was developed for use by the US Marine Corps and has been battlefield tested since 2008. There is currently no other FDA approved technology available which is similar. The InfraScanner is currently being used by Emergency Medical Services, hospitals, sports medicine and has been in use by the Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Maroon, for the past two years.
For more information go to med-logic.us
1 Fox, W. Christopher, Min S. Park, Shawn Belverud, Arnett Klugh, Dennis Rivet, and Jeffrey M. Tomlin. Contemporary Imaging of Mild TBI: The Journey toward Diffusion Tensor Imaging to Assess Neuronal Damage. Neurological Research, n.d. Web.
By Dr. Jimmy Sanderson
I am sure many of us remember when the now infamous 2011 NFC Championship game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, when Bears quarterback Jay Cutler received significant criticism for not finishing the game after sustaining a knee injury.
Many of us also probably remember watching Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III during a 2013 playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks continuing to play after sustaining a knee injury before being removed from the game.
For me, my colleague Dr. Melinda Weathers, and a team of undergraduate students in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University, these two incidents provided a compelling opportunity to examine how the print media talked about players’ injury decisions.
In the study we conducted, we examined 177 news articles that reported on these two incidents to see how these two quarterbacks were framed by the media.
Not surprisingly, Cutler was portrayed as a sissy, the severity of his injury was questioned, and he was blamed for it. However, what was interesting is that many more articles shifted the blame away from Cutler to other people in the Bears organization, and – one of the key findings for us – was that there was significant support for Cutler for not returning to the game.
With Griffin III, only a small portion of the reports assigned any responsibility to him. Rather, the blame was shifted to Coach Mike Shanahan and other Redskins officials, including team doctors, and the severity of his injury was emphasized. Griffin was also positioned as hero for his resiliency in fighting through injury that – and another key finding here – was part of the game.
Our results are not exhaustive and much more work needs to be done. However, they do offer a starting point for conversations about the role the media can play in the way we talk about injuries in football and there were a couple of key takeaways for us in this research.
First, it was surprising to see significant support for Cutler, especially given how much criticism he received from his peers. The press can play a role in shifting attitudes about health issues – and when we consider how many kids participate in football – injuries in football are a public health issue – we wonder if the press begins to praise players who do not continue to play through injuries and put their health first, if that might have a trickle down effect?
Second, while there was evidence of shifting narratives about playing through pain, there was still the notion that playing through injuries, regardless of the long-term consequences, is privileged. For example, one report about Griffin noted that, “In the macho world of the NFL this earns much street cred.”
One of the issues with health and safety in sports, but particularly football, is that the culture is at present, incompatible with players advocating for their health. Speaking up for oneself is often seen as “unmanly” and this norm perpetuates through all levels of football to predispose players to not seek attention, even when their own well-being is at stake.
Equating manliness with playing through pain, no matter the cost, has too long gone unquestioned and the press may begin to sow the seeds for a culture change by doing so.
Can a player still be “tough” and put their health first? That is the big question facing the culture of football.
Dr. Jimmy Sanderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University. His research centers on the influence of social media and sports with particular emphases on sports media, sports organizations, and communicate between athletes and fans and he is beginning research on concussion and health issues in sports. His work has appeared in multiple academic journals and he also is the author of It’s a Whole New Ballgame: How Social Media is Changing Sports published by Hampton Press. Connect with him on Twitter @Jimmy_Sanderson