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Concussions in the News

This page will provide links to articles discussing sport-related brain injuries.

Hidden gems that are must reads:

1) 1963 SI article, where the NFL is making player safety a priority by implementing new rules to cut down on the violence of the game, “Roughness, one of the ingredients that makes pro football so popular, can ruin the sport if it gets out of control.”

2) 1994 SI article, where the NFL went completely off course — which may later come back to bite them hard — by appointing Dr. Elliot Pellman as the head of the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, “Concussions are part of the profession, an occupational risk….Veterans clear more quickly than rookies,”

3) All of Alan Schwarz’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated pieces that sparked the Concussion Era in football

Oct. 13, 2012

Bears serious about safety? Then sit Cutler

Want to make a statement about concussion safety? Take the decision out of the hands of teams and players. Institute an NFL rule requiring any player who cannot finish one game because of a concussion to sit out the next game as a precaution. Stop talking about how much the league cares about brain injuries and then letting teams treat them like sprained ankles. Passing a battery of NFL tests could return Cutler by midweek, but too many unknowns remain for anyone to feel too comfortable. The concussion Cutler suffered Sunday from the hit by Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins was at least the fourth of his career — with news archives suggesting it was his sixth. Regardless, the potential cumulative effect cannot be ignored for someone with Cutler’s history — not with the 49ers defense lurking.

Oct. 12, 2012

Styf: Bears played concussion by the book, but still put Cutler at risk

But that doesn’t help the fact that Cutler was put at a huge risk by re-entering the game and promptly running down the field, diving and taking a hard hit again. In the science of concussions, there are few certainties. There’s more we don’t know than we know, especially about what causes long-term damage. What we do know is that an injured brain, like Cutler had, is more susceptible to further injury. The same thing happened in 2010, when Cutler remained in the game after his concussion against the Giants and was later removed at halftime. Much like Alex Smith, quarterback for this week’s Bears opponent, who threw a touchdown pass after his injury before being removed. What we don’t know is what it could mean for Cutler, or Smith, long term. People like to count concussions and think that means something. The reality is, if the concerns are long-term memory loss and health issues, the count doesn’t mean anything. Each player reacts differently. Some players have multiple concussions in a career and remain healthy post-football. Others are never diagnosed with a concussion – only repeated sub-concussive hits – and they leave football without their facilities intact.

Nov. 9, 2012

Crennel: Quinn didn’t mention concussion symptoms until he was removed

Thus, coach Romeo Crennel said the Chiefs weren’t aware that Quinn was injured until they pulled him from the game. “Sometimes, what happens in the course of a game if a guy gets dinged up and he’s not acting the way he should act, other players around notice it. And then, when they come to the side(line), they’ll say, ‘Look at this guy. He’s not quite right.’ Then we’ll take a look at him,” Crennel said“In the Quinn situation, that’s what occurred. The players noticed he wasn’t right and they informed us he wasn’t right. Then we looked at him and talked to him and found out he had an issue, and then he was taken out of the game.”

Nov. 8, 2012

Chiefs QB Brady Quinn admits trying to play through concussion

That’s why the Chiefs quarterback admitted Wednesday to attempting to play through his second concussion of the season, which he believes happened when a defender’s knee struck the back of his helmet in a game against the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 28. Quinn remembers having vision problems after the blow, but decided to remain in the game, even though he was dazed enough to put on the wrong helmet on the sideline between possessions. He never saw the Raiders’ Rolando McClain while getting sacked later in the first quarter, perhaps augmenting the severity of the initial concussion, and recalled having “tunnel vision” and being unable to see the Oakland defensive backs when he threw an interception. It was at that point Quinn was removed from the game. “That’s why I tried to stay in the game, because it was the first opportunity for me in a while,” said Quinn, speaking for the first time since the injury. “I tried to play through it, and that’s my fault for not being smart about it.”

Nov. 7, 2012

NFL’s political action committee has doled out $876,857 in 2012

Few issues are more pressing for the NFL than concussions — at least judging by the league’s political spending. The House Judiciary committee held hearings in 2009 and 2010 about the NFL’s concussion crisis. Of the 41 members of the Judiciary committee that convened the hearing, 24 received Gridiron PAC contributions. When a new Congress met in 2011, 22 of 39 members received NFL funds. The league also poured substantial resources into lobbying lawmakers about head injuries and retirement and disability issues, spending $1.62 million in 2011 and $840,000 so far this year. An analysis of Federal Elections Commission data revealed the NFL spent most on members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee ($231,710) and House Judiciary ($175,500). Most issues facing sports leagues, from drug testing to antitrust issues, fall under the purview of one of these two committees — and the recipients of the largest contributions are frequently ranking members or the chairperson of their respective committee.

Nov. 6, 2012

Reebok-CCM Hockey Takes Aim At Competitor For “False Helmet Safety Claims”

Hockey equipment company Bauer had made claims concerning a newly introduced helmet (the RE-AKT) that has revolutionized protection against head and brain injury.  One of Bauer’s competitors is not thrilled with the company’s stance that the RE-AKT is the only helmet that reduces rotational acceleration.  Reebok-CCM Hockey, a subsidiary of the adidas Group and official outfitter of the National Hockey League, told that it acknowledges Bauer shares a goal of helping the hockey industry create safer equipment, but takes issue that Bauer’s CEO has made “stray comments and false safety claims” regarding its new product. “The topic of head injuries in hockey is too important and of serious concern to the general public to be the subject of confusion in the marketplace regarding product performance.” said Phil Dubé, General Manager for Reebok-CCM Hockey.  ”When I visit retailers, the first thing I hear is about the RE-AKT helmet doing something no other helmet does. Some of our helmets are better and superior to that helmet designed for that particular kind of protection.  The advertising is misleading consumers and retail customers.  The best helmet is the one that fits the best.”

Nov. 5, 2012

Jury Hooks Plunked Golfer’s Lawsuit

A jury ruled Friday that a Texas golfer isn’t eligible to receive any money in his lawsuit against Pinehurst Resort and another golfer who hit him in the head with a shot. Businessman John Cottam said he was on the ninth hole of the Pinehurst No. 8 course in September 2003 when Jeff Dalton’s tee shot came soaring down the dogleg fairway and struck him in the head. Cottam suffered brain damage from the incident, his attorneys said during the four-week trial.

Nov. 4, 2012

Hornets coach Monty Williams doesn’t like the NBA’s concussion policy

Davis isn’t allowed to return to action until he completes a series of tests to determine he’s no longer feeling the effects of a concussion. This means he wasn’t allowed to play against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams fired off some pretty choice words against the policy: “When you’re dealing with the brain, I guess what’s happening in football has impacted everybody,” Williams said before the game. “He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. It’s just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it’s getting old. It’s just the way the league is now.”

Oct. 31, 2012

Q&A: Exploring Big Ten research on concussions

Q: What are the Big Ten and Ivy League trying to accomplish with their partnership?A: One, we are trying to get a better understanding of the burgeoning issue impacting all levels of sport. Football is what gets the most coverage, but it’s really across all sports. It hits home with us as college athletics, but it reaches all the way to youth sports and up to the professional levels, as well. So we are trying to get a better understanding on what this issue is. We also want to put ourselves in a situation to gather some meaningful data that can be mined by some of the wonderful institutions that we have in our league and by the Ivy League and some of its research prowess, as well. We are hoping we can get our arms around this high-impact issue specific to college sports and also hopefully use some of the non-athletics research to better understand the issue for general society, as well.

Q: What is done at each school football-wise as far as trying to prevent concussions?A: In 2010, the NCAA mandated that each school had to have a concussion management plan on file. As a conference, our sports medicine committee–which is made up of our team physicians and head athletic trainers for football and Olympic sports–put together a foundation for Big Ten concussion management plan that was intended to provide a baseline for all of our institutions that said at a minimum: Here is what you should have included in your plan. But the schools have the autonomy to add and implement anything further that they think fits their institution. Along with that piece was a companion educational piece where each of our institutions are expected to educate their student-athletes, coaches and support staffs of each sport to what this issue is, what can occur if a head injury or concussion occurs during the course of play and how to manage that from a return to play and return to study academics standpoint. It’s a two-fold approach. There’s the plan that’s in place and the expectation of education occurring, as well, on each campus.

Oct. 30, 2012

Former NFL heavy hitter falls into homelessness

Terry Tautolo was once a fearsome linebacker in the NFL. Then he was out of the game and homeless.This is a man who played nine seasons for several NFL teams. He played for the San Francisco 49ers during the beginning of their greatest years. But that glamour is all gone. It may have looked picture perfect, the 1981 49ers. It was a breakout season celebrated before huge candlestick crowds… “The Catch” shined a spotlight on a new NFL dynasty. But some names from that team are now long forgotten. The 49ers traded linebacker Tautolo during the Super Bowl season. After his career ended, he traded the stadium tunnel for a tunnel under a L.A. freeway. Tautolo became homeless.

Oct. 29, 2012

Looking for Trouble

One profound implication of the realization that repeated head trauma leads to a brain disorder that can make those injured violent, says McKee, is CTE’s potential as a legal defense for people accused of violent crime. In fact, she says, some CSTE researchers have already been contacted by defense lawyers. For the time being at least, the CTE defense is kept from the courtroom by the necessity of dissecting a brain in order to identify the disease, but that is likely to change. Stern is working with 100 retired NFL players, all with symptoms consistent with CTE. At this point, he says, it’s too early to say that there are reliable chemical indicators of CTE, but “the findings are interesting.” Stern has also begun a study that will eventually involve 1,000 athletes—500 are currently enrolled—over the age of 18 representing many different sports. That study, which will follow the athletes throughout their lives, will consist of annual telephone interviews, web-based exams, and DNA analysis.

Oct. 28, 2012

“What A Man”: Reactions To The University Of Arizona’s Negligent Treatment Of Matt Scott’s Concussion

There’s little doubt that head trauma can result in vomiting: the Mayo Clinic lists “nausea or vomiting” as among the likely symptoms of a concussion, and 100 Questions & Answers About Head and Brain Injuries (available as an eBook through Google) spends a section speculating about the cause of post-concussive nausea (it may be the trauma directly to the vomiting center of your brain). Regardless of the reason, we know the right response: repeated vomiting in concussed adults means a trip to the emergency room. The same Mayo Clinic recommendations say in no uncertain terms that athletes in particular shouldn’t return to activity when signs of a concussion are present, and one might think that the grisly image of a player vomiting midfield might inspire an excess of caution. Not so in Tucson last night. The Arizona Wildcats were up four and threatening midway through final quarter of their game against conference rival USC when quarterback Matt Scott suffered a head injury.

Oct. 27, 2012


The safety issue is on a “fast track,” MLB senior vice president Dan Halem said Friday night. “Hopefully, we can come up with something,” he said. “We’re making progress.” MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green has been talking to companies about protective headgear for pitchers, Halem said. A report is on the agenda at baseball’s winter meetings in December. A cap liner with Kevlar, the high-impact material used by military, law enforcement and NFL players for body armor, is among the ideas under consideration. Halem said baseball already was exploring options when Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy was hit in the head by a line drive last month, causing a skull fracture and brain contusion. “After that, it kind of pushed up our timetable,” Halem said. “We decided to fast track it.” “We think it’s possible for 2013 in the minor leagues,” he told The Associated Press.

Oct. 26, 2012

Earnhardt talks of anxiety caused by concussions

He was examined and cleared to return by neurosurgeon and NASCAR consultant Dr. Jerry Petty on Tuesday, one day after Earnhardt ran 123 laps during a test at half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. ”I’m glad I did what I did. I’m glad I took the time off and made the choices that I made,” Earnhardt said of the decision to seek medical help that sidelined him and squashed his already slender championship hopes. ”I had to do it. I didn’t have a choice. I knew something wasn’t right.” Earnhardt missed races at Charlotte and Kansas, and said it was initially frightening to know something was amiss in his head. ”Some concussions are really bad, and I don’t care how tough you think you are, when your mind is not working the way it is supposed to, it scares the (expletive) out of you,” he said. ”You are not going to think about race cars. You aren’t going to think about trophies. You’re not going to think about your job. You’re going to be thinking about what do I got to do to get my brain working the way it was before. ”That’s going to jump right to the top of the priority list, I promise you.”

Oct. 25, 2012

NFL Liable for Ignoring Boxing Studies? by Matt Chaney

On the contrary, seemingly damning NFL history could be turned back against former players, says Paul D. Anderson, Kansas City sport lawyer and founder of the widely referenced Website “Yes, as I read through news stories I often see statements by former players, some of whom are plaintiffs, that could be used against them to show that they were contributorily negligent in the way they handled [their own] concussions,” Anderson states in email interview. “[If] litigation proceeds both the plaintiffs and defendants will be meticulously analyzing magazines and newspapers to find explosive admissions.” Legal weight of news accounts alone typically ranks low, recognized by courts as “double hearsay” evidence. But Anderson qualifies historical news like the collection below as solid head start for both sides in NFL lawsuits that would proceed. And NFL strategy would likely involve attack on the regarded boxing studies. “This will be a significant portion of the litigation, assuming the plaintiffs survive other legal hurdles,” Anderson states. “Essentially what it will come down to is the plaintiffs’ experts, who wrote these studies as far back as the 1920s-1950s, linking concussions to neurodegenerative diseases, versus the NFL’s experts who will argue that these studies were nothing more than speculation. Moreover, the NFL will argue, the science is still inconclusive.” Anderson sees hope for plaintiffs, noting “where the concussion lawsuits have teeth is when the NFL voluntarily inserted itself into the concussion discussion in 1994 when it created the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. The main question will be: Was this real science or junk science?” “So far, the evidence is pointing to the latter.”

Oct. 17, 2012

“Shaken up on the play”: The semantic loopholes that allow the NFL to survive its concussion crisis.

It’s the NFL’s own rules, then, that encourage the same behavior the league claims it wants to prevent. When Robert Griffin III’s health is in peril, fans, the media, and the league office carefully scrutinize whether the rules are being followed. If mistakes are made, the team is criticized. Fines will follow. Jay Glazer reports that the NFL wants “to prevent concussed players from getting pushed back on field.” But with regard to a no-name like Jordan Pugh, the Redskins and the NFL are a lot freer to do what they please, using semantics as a shield. Was Pugh shaken up? Did he have a head injury? A concussion? Two concussions? The NFL doesn’t have the answers, and it hopes nobody bothers to ask the questions.

The NFL’s concussion conundrum

The concussion conundrum is complicated and intricate, but one thing is clear: It is not going away. On the field, it will generate discussion of treatment and return-to-play issues every week as it is now with Griffin and Best. Off the field, former players continue to sign up as plaintiffs, seeing no downside with attorneys’ fees being contingent and not knowing what symptoms will develop later in life. With a 10-year CBA in place with the players, an eight-year CBA in place with the referees, new television contract extensions at record levels and skyrocketing asset values of teams (the Browns’ sale for $1 billion was approved this week), these are salad days for NFL ownership. The concussion conundrum threatens to be the major ripple to these calm waters. Stay tuned.

Oct. 14, 2012

Junior Seau: Song of sorrow

When Seau put a .357-caliber Magnum up against his chest and shot a bullet through his heart on the morning of May 2, his family and friends didn’t find a suicide note. Instead, they found a suicide song. On the kitchen counter of his home, Seau, 43, left a piece of paper, on which he’d scribbled the lyrics to his favorite country song, “Who I Ain’t.” Co-written by his friend Jamie Paulin, a Nashville-based songwriter, the song is about a man who once had it all, but ended up making a mess of his life and is so filled with regrets that he can’t forgive himself.

I never made a deal with the devil, but I broke promises to the Lord.

I’ve tried to be the man I should, but sometimes I fall short.

I’m not a man of anger; I never meant to hurt no one.

But there are things in my life, I’m sad to say I’ve done.

Cuz I broke the hearts of angels, cursed my fellow man

Turned from the Bible with a bottle in my hand.

My only hope for forgiveness, when the good Lord calls my name

Is that He knows who I am and who I ain’t.

I haven’t been to church on Sunday since I was in Sunday school

I used to blame Saturday nights but I wore out that excuse

I’m sitting in the twilight of my younger years

When I think about the man I was, it brings the man I am to tears.

Cuz I broke the hearts of angels, cursed my fellow man

Turned from the Bible with a bottle in my hand

My only hope for forgiveness, when the good Lord calls my name

Is that He knows who I am and who I ain’t.

Redskins could be in serious trouble for the way they handled RG3s concussion

So, it appears the NFL is going to lower the boom on the Redskins based on timing and semantics. A team spokesperson told Maske that the “shaken up” term was used before Griffin was deemed to have a concussion. “I’m not sure where that came from,” Mayer told Maske. “Obviously people other than the medical staff were involved between when he was examined and when that was said… It goes to the question of whether in the future, are we going to have to be more descriptive, not only with our medical staffs but also with our PR staffs and those who dispense this information to the public?” That’s a very good point, but if the ‘Skins are going to get blasted by the NFL for an error in terminology, why weren’t the Cleveland Browns fined for throwing McCoy back in a game last year when he was clearly concussed, and why was Calvin Johnson allowed to come back into the Detroit Lions’ Week 4 loss to the Minnesota Vikings when the player himself said he did so when he was concussed? No matter what was said or not said, Griffin didn’t go back in the game, which puts the Redskins one up on the Browns and Lions in the player safety department.–nfl.html

Oct. 11, 2012

Ricky Watters lives with after effects of punishing football career

Watters is among the legion of players involved in concussion litigation against the NFL. He said he had dozens of concussions, from the time he starred at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, then at Notre Dame, then in San Francisco, Philadelphia and, finally, Seattle, his last stop in a 10-year NFL career. “Not that I knew what a concussion was then,” Watters said. How many times did he play without his full mental faculties? “Hundreds of times.” Watters ignored the signs: headaches, fatigue, forgetfulness. His wife of 13 years, Catherina, was his fianceé when he was in Philadelphia. The Ricky she knew was disappearing: the Ricky with a photographic memory; the tireless Ricky who always followed through. She begged him to file for disability. When the Eagles added Watters in 1995, they also signed Kevin Turner to be their fullback. Turner, who has ALS, is one of the poster children for the concussion issue. Turner never shied from contact. Watters did. And, that day, he defended it: “I’m not going to trip up there and get knocked out. For who? For what? I mean, there’s another day.” For who. For what. Maybe Ricky was on to something.

Oct. 10, 2012

Will concussion change Robert Griffin III’s approach?

Howard Derman, a neurologist and co-director of Houston’s Methodist Concussion Center, is the independent evaluator who examines Texans players after concussions. He said a “mild” concussion is a general term that usually means a player did not lose consciousness and, if appropriate recovery time is allowed — at least a few days without contact to the head — a player such as Griffin won’t necessarily be more susceptible to future brain injuries. Within the first days after a concussion, though, the brain remains vulnerable…. When Green missed the first half of the ’07 season with a severe concussion, he decided to pay little attention to future risks. He had suffered injuries before, and coaches teach players that worrying about getting hurt is the surest path to another injury. So Green put his concussion behind him. He said he returned with the same aggressiveness and willingness to scramble, even if something told him that another big hit might again send him to the sideline.

Oct. 5, 2012

2012 NFL Concussion Report Week 3 & 4

Week 3 we saw some very vicious hits, one that resulted in a suspension, and relatively few concussions.  We have only been able to unearth six this week and that may be all there is. Another interesting variable is the return of the official officials; this could be something worth keeping an eye on.  Players have readily admitted that they respect the “real” officials much more and are less likely to take liberties within the frame-work of the game.  If health-safety is a top priority and the officials have an impact we will see some results here in this cataloging of the concussions, perhaps. Week 4s injuries proved to be a bit easier to find, which makes sense if there were not as many concussions in Week 3.  Again, even though some players were being removed and even “evaluated” they are not listed as a concussion on the teams official injury report.  Here are the Week’s 3 and 4 numbers (6 in W3 and 10 W4);

Oct. 4, 2012

Powder puff game falls short of goal

The one thing different about Sunday’s game compared to the past is someone got seriously hurt. Not that girls haven’t gotten hurt in the past in these games, but I imagine having an ambulance come onto the field to carry a girl off is a first for LHS. Junior Sam Hubbard collided with a teammate late in the fourth quarter, and in turn suffered a severe concussion and was taken to Overland Park Regional where she stayed overnight in the hospital and was in intensive care for a period of time. To be honest, I didn’t see the exact play occur, as it was on the opposite side of the field, so it was hard to tell exactly what happened. In any case, it was something that could have been prevented easily. Sometimes accidents happen, and if this was just an isolated incident, you wouldn’t read me ranting in the paper today. This injury, unfortunately, was a long time coming. It was supposed to be a flag football game, but there was tackling going on all over the field and girls were violently thrown out of bounds. It “appeared” both the juniors and seniors were ganging up on girls from the opposite teams. So, who was there to stop this stuff from happening? Pretty much no one. Since I have been here, there has not been LHS administration present at this event, instead leaving it solely on the student council representatives of each class. There were parents, who volunteered to officiate the game, but they had no power to stop what was going on.

Oct. 2, 2012

NFL questions Texans’ protocol

Schaub was examined by Texans team doctor Walter Lowe, who determined Schaub had not suffered a concussion and that a tear of his ear lobe was the extent of his injury. Schaub sat out one play. League and NFLPA medical personnel inquired as to why the Texans did not review Mays’ hit on Schaub via the bench TV monitor that is available to assess the collision. Dr. Lowe explained he did not need the monitor because he had a clear view of the hit from the sideline and understood its potential consequences, sources said. The recommendation from the league’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee is that a player involved in a significant collision should be removed from the field so the doctor can utilize the NFL Sideline Concussion Tool, which has six basic cognitive tests, all of which must be passed by the player. On average, a medical source said, the test takes about eight to 10 minutes to administer. However, the league has not disciplined the Texans because of Dr. Lowe’s explanation and because the team has a strong history of letting its medical professionals determine the play-time of players after an injury. Also, Dr. Lowe conducted further examination in the locker room after the game and Schaub did not display any concussion symptoms during the week of practice leading into Sunday’s game against the Titans.

Sept. 29, 2012

Analysis: Suits in accidental deaths face harsh reality

New Jersey law makes it easier to collect large monetary awards in cases where a person has been severely injured rather than killed — especially when a youth is involved, experts say. It is a cold legal calculation based upon the need for continuing care versus the loss of earning power — one showcased in the story of Cliffside Park’s Douglas Morales, a 17-year-old who died as a result of football injuries in August 2008. The family settled this month with the Cliffside Park school district for $125,000 and reached an undisclosed settlement with a sporting goods manufacturer who made the helmet Morales was wearing when he sustained a blow to the head. Compare that to the case of Steven Domalewski, a 19-year-old Wayne man who was left brain-damaged six years ago after being struck in the chest with a line drive during a baseball game. Last month, his family accepted a $14.5 million settlement with the Louisville Slugger aluminum bat maker, Hillerich & Bradsby Co. of Kentucky, to help pay for continuing care. The company has settled other similar cases around the nation, including last year when an Oklahoma City family won nearly $1 million after a boy was struck by a line drive, leading to a broken nose and eye socket that required surgery to remove sinus cavity tissue in his forehead.

Sept. 28, 2012

California law will aid hurt athletes

California will become the first state to mandate financial protections for student-athletes who suffer career-ending injuries in some of the state’s top college sports programs under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Thursday. SB1525 protects athletes at the four universities that receive more than $10 million annually in sports media revenue — the Pac-12’s USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford. They will have to give academic scholarships to students who lose their athletic scholarships if they are injured while playing their sport. They also will have to cover insurance deductibles and pay health care premiums for low-income athletes, among other provisions. The legislation requires the universities to pay future medical costs for on-the-field injuries, providing student-athletes with the kind of guarantees that even some professional athletes don’t receive.

Sept. 27, 2012

Negligence claimed in Valley Christian football player’s death

The headaches lasted through the weekend, so Swank went to his Coeur d’Alene doctor, Tim Burns, the following Monday. Burns diagnosed a concussion and placed Swank on “no practice, no play” restrictions. The lawsuit states that Swank told his coaches about the restrictions. By Thursday of that week, Swank told his mother that his headaches were gone. She called Burns’ office and through a clinic employee he lifted the restrictions without a follow-up exam, the lawsuit alleges. The doctor’s OK gave Swank the green light to resume practice and play in the Friday game. Burns’ office did not return a message seeking comment. Valley Christian’s 8-man football team traveled for an away game at LaCrosse-Washtucna. During the game, Drew Swank played poorly. The lawsuit alleges he showed signs consistent with a head injury: “sluggishness, poor judgment and reflexes and weakness.” Rather than pull him from the game, coach Puryear summoned Swank to the sideline where he is alleged to have “grabbed him by the facemask and proceeded to violently shake his head up and down in anger,” the lawsuit says. Swank went back into the game and was hit by an opposing player. It was a violent collision that witnesses at the game have reported made Swank’s head whip back and forth before smashing into the field. Swank got up and tried to stagger to the sideline, vomiting before he collapsed. Medics rushed Swank to a hospital in Ritzville before airlifting him to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Concussions can ruin quality of life for young athletes, CHEO research finds

Those suffering their first concussion reported an average of five moderate to severe symptoms, while those with a previous concussion experienced more than twice that number. When the patients assessed their quality of life using a standardized survey, their scores were surprisingly low — at about the same level as children undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. The tests assessed both their physical and psychosocial well-being. Dr. Vassilyadi released the preliminary findings of the research study Wednesday at the Brain Injury Association of Canada’s annual conference in downtown Ottawa. He said the findings underline the potential seriousness of concussions — and the importance of trying to prevent them. “Concussions used to be called mild head injuries, but I don’t call them that any longer,” Dr. Vassilyadi told conference delegates.

Sept. 26, 2012

Parents of Cliffside Park football player who died during practice settle with school district

The parents of a former Cliffside Park High School football player who died after sustaining a head injury during practice four years ago has reached a $125,000 settlement with the school district…. Dr. Sandra Gutierrez, of Roselle, noted that someone not fully recovered from a mild concussion, if hit again, could have “catastrophic” results and concluded that he suffered from second-impact syndrome. She cited massive brain swelling, multiple brain herniation, hemorrhages and brain compression, as well as second-impact syndrome, as Morales’ cause of death. “Cliffside [Park] High School is responsible for employing the proper staff, and offering them and mandating of them the proper training and attention to detail to ensure the safety of teenagers,” Gutierrez wrote in her report. “They are accountable for the consequences of failure to meet these obligations. Douglas [Morales’] death would have and should have been prevented had these measures been in place.”

Sept. 25, 2012

NFL Adopts X2IMPACT Concussion Management Software Seattle company provides NFL with new cloud app

X2IMPACT, a privately funded Seattle company, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with the National Football League to supply its Concussion Management System (CMS) software application for use by certain teams of the NFL during the 2012 football season. The X2IMPACT CMS is a touch-screen-based application built for iOS and Windows 8 operating systems and is equally suitable for use at the field of play or in clinical office settings. Harnessing the power of cloud computing, the X2 CMS securely serves concussion assessment data and provides authorized team health care providers with instant access to each of their players’ past and present information.

Sept. 24, 2012

The truth behind the death of Vikings legend Wally Hilgenberg 

Just days before his death in 2008, Wally Hilgenberg was lifted into a chair for one last family portrait. Daughter Kristi stood behind the former Vikings linebacker and held his head, so that it would not slump to the side. His two football-playing grandsons, Luke and Austin, flanked him on the front porch. Through 16 seasons and four Super Bowls, Hilgenberg had played a vicious game with a devil-may-care attitude. On the last Christmas he was alive, confined to a wheelchair and slipping to a point where he could only communicate by blinking his eyes, he gave each of his four children one of his Super Bowl rings. The preliminary diagnosis for his death at the age of 66 was Lou Gehrig’s disease. But two years later, doctors in Boston, where Hilgenberg’s brain was studied and still sits in storage, suggested something else: that Hilgenberg instead died from repetitive brain trauma brought on by more than 20 years of high school, college and pro football. Now, his family, which owed so much to football, is deeply conflicted by it. “Football is bad. It’s really, really bad,” said Eric Hilgenberg, who played football, as his father did, at the University of Iowa.

Sept. 23, 2012

‘Bounties’ split Tustin Pop Warner club

Four months before the world heard about the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, two Pop Warner football coaches in Tustin began offering cash to their 10- and 11-year-old players for making big hits and knocking opponents out of games, according to an assistant coach, a parent, interviews with players and signed statements by two players. Tustin Red Cobras head coach Darren Crawford and assistant coach Richard Bowman, whose powerhouse squad went undefeated during the 2011 regular season, told their team to target specific players on the youth football teams from Yorba Linda, Santa Margarita and San Bernardino, said then-assistant coach John Zanelli and three players interviewed by the Register.

Sept. 21, 2012

NFL veterans with local ties sue league

Legal experts say it could be years before the case is resolved. The NFL has said the discovery stage of the litigation alone might take until 2018, because the league will have to take depositions from all of the 3,500-plus players involved. “The parties are in for a long litigation battle,” says Paul D. Anderson, a legal analyst who runs the website “This will likely take several years to complete. However, in high-stakes litigation, things can change quickly, which may force the other side to settle. Really, though, only time will tell.” In the meantime, Brown and Johnson worry about their fellow NFL veterans who are struggling with neurological disorders as a result of their concussions. “This lawsuit is not all about the money,” Brown says. “It’s about education, it’s about protecting others, and it’s about cleaning up the game. It’s also about helping former players. I mean, have some compassion for the players who helped build this game to what it is.”

Sept. 20, 2012

NFL players’ concussion litigation – new ‘Big Tobacco’ – moves forward in Philly

Anderson, a recent law school graduate who is not yet a licensed attorney, viewed the idea of creating a site to keep people up to date on the litigation as a great way to break into the world of sports law. “In law school you get to learn the law but don’t really get to see the practical side,” Anderson said. Anderson shared his take on the current state of the concussion litigation during a recent interview. Citing a recent Pennsylvania Record story about Judge Brody, the federal jurist overseeing the NFL case, refusing to dismiss claims against the Kellogg Company by a former worker, Anderson discussed why he feels the football players’ litigation would at least make it to the discovery stage. “It appears that she [Brody] may be willing to allow the parties to get into discovery,” Anderson said, drawing parallels between the Kellogg case and the NFL litigation, with the judge recently allowing discovery to proceed in the former case. In the NFL case, Anderson said the plaintiffs would likely have to prove that their claims are independent of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA); the NFL would probably argue that there is no way to decide this issue without looking at the CBA. The plaintiffs, Anderson said, will likely argue that the case involves “straight up” common law claims. “It’s going to be a back and forth battle to persuade Judge Brody that she’s not going to have to look at the CBA and that the claims are independent,” Anderson predicted. The legal observer said there are no specific Third Circuit Court of Appeals cases similar to this litigation that would bind Brody, so it truly does remain to be seen how things will unfold from the bench.

“In high stakes litigation, things can change at any moment,” Anderson said.—new-big-tobacco—moves-forward-in-philly

Family sues Highland School District over son’s brain injuries

“Preventing preventable brain injuries in sports is what this case is about,” said Richard Adler, who is representing the Newman family and is also a board member of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, which teamed up with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), the NFL and others to help pass the law. “We’re just hoping everybody can learn a little something, or a lot, from what happened here.” Mark Anderson, superintendent of the Highland School District in Cowiche, 10 miles northwest of Yakima, declined to comment on the lawsuit. The suit did not cite a damage figure. Matthew Newman was 17 years old and the starting quarterback for Highland when he was injured during a game against Naches Valley on Sept. 18, 2009. Coaches later said Newman popped up after being hit, ran a pass play then appeared to have difficulty focusing when the next play was called in. When he complained of numbness in his legs and a headache, medics were summoned to the field.

Sept. 19, 2012

Replacement officials starting to raise risks but NFL remains unmoved

During the game, they made like a bad call or something, the ref, and I see Ray Lewis like pump his chest up, trying to scare him,” McCoy said. “Don’t you know (the ref) started stuttering? I’m like, ‘What’s this?'” There are many other examples. “There’s a lot of people in the league that would rather break the (referees) union,” Hall of Famer Steve Young said after the Monday night debacle. ” … They feel like (officiating) is a commodity. But more importantly, everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand. There’s nothing (it) can do to hurt the demand for the game. So, the bottom line is they don’t care. Player safety? Doesn’t matter in this case. Bringing in Division III officials? Doesn’t matter. Because in the end, you’re still going to watch the game.” “It’s sad. This is so sad. It’s hard to watch,” said one referee source. “It’s an insult to the profession and to the men who worked 20 years to be professionals. After this weekend’s catastrophes the (NFLRA’s) phones should have been ringing off the hook (Tuesday) morning. Paul (former commissioner Paul Tagliabue) wouldn’t have ever let it come to this. Under Roger (Goodell), the owners have become arrogant, power-crazed. “I’ve been around the league a long time, and this isn’t how it was. And what it was is how it got to be so good. They aren’t open to real negotiations in any sense. It’s about busting a union just because they can. This has to stop. Someone has to be the voice of reason, and soon. They’re playing Russian roulette. Someone told me it’s going to take career-ending injury to a franchise quarterback to get them to have a reasonable conversation. That makes it hard to sleep at night.”

Sept. 18, 2012

Former CFLer Doug MacIver had CTE

At 58, MacIver was suffering from “moderately advanced” chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died Jan. 26. His condition would have worsened had he lived….Doctors said an external examination of MacIver’s brain showed no abnormalities. Once dissected, the inside of the brain told a different story.….“It’s safe to say brain trauma is the only known cause for CTE,” said Chris Nowinski, CSTE co-director, who declined to speak directly about the MacIver case but did underline its importance. “Most everything we’ve learned the last two years has come through studying the brains of athletes and others,” added Nowinski, a former professional wrestler. “We learn something new from every case because each individual is unique.”

Sept. 13, 2012

North Hollywood High student gets $2.4 million over broken neck during football tryout

A North Hollywood High student who suffered a broken neck during a football tryout has been awarded $2.4 million in an arbitration judgment against Los Angeles Unified. Johnny Rider was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear when he ran head first into padded blocking bags during the tryout in July 2008, according to the decision issued Friday by court arbitrator Alexander Williams III. Although he was not paralyzed, Rider suffered a cervical spine fracture that required surgery.

Sifton teen guilty of setting his home on fire

The question before a Clark County judge on Wednesday: Did the Sifton teenager’s brain injury prevent him from forming the legal intent to commit first-degree arson? Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis said the evidence was clear: Smith acted “knowingly and maliciously.” “He intended to do it,” the judge said. “He was aware his actions were going to cause the fire.” After hearing testimony in the daylong trial, Lewis found Smith, now 17, guilty of first-degree arson. The teen will be sentenced on Oct. 2. In juvenile court, judges, not juries, decide a defendant’s fate. The judge heard testimony that Smith allegedly set the fire after fetching a gas can from an outside shed and pouring the flammable liquid into a cup to bring inside the house. Then, he dumped the gas into a recycling bin, igniting the fire.

Sept. 12, 2012

Court Sacks NFL Retiree’s Disability Benefits Claim

The NFL does not owe “Mean” Gene Atkins extra retirement disability benefits for injuries he claims stem from his 10-year career in professional football, the 5th Circuit ruled Tuesday.
     A three-judge panel declined to revive a federal lawsuit filed by Atkins, a former cornerback and safety with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.
     In July 2010, Atkins sued the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, the NFL Supplemental Disability Plan and the Management Trustees of the NFL Player Retirement Plan in Austin Federal Court, claiming they “are liable to him for additional disability benefi     ts because his disabilities arise from his 10-year NFL career.”
     In his claim for disability benefits, Atkins listed a right shoulder injury; chronic pain in his shoulder, head, neck, arms and hands; mood swings and depression – all of which he attributes to his career in professional football from 1987 until 1996.
     Atkins said he worked at a Target store for a few months but had to stop due to “crippling headaches, shoulder and neck pain, limited range of motion, and numbness in his hands.”
     The retirement board referred his claim to a clinical neuropsychologist, who concluded that Atkins suffered from illiteracy, borderline mental ability and depression, none of which could be directly tied to football.
     The board then decided that Atkins was eligible for “inactive” player disability benefits, rather than the more generous “football degenerative” benefits he sought. Atkins was unable to persuade the board to reclassify his disability benefits.


Sept. 11, 2012

Searing Concussion Claim Against Texas High School Football Coach

A high school football coach and school district showed “no concern” for a player who suffered so many concussions he is permanently disabled at age 20, the man claims in Federal Court.
     Blake Allen Ripple sued Marble Falls Independent School District and Cord Woerner, his former head football coach and athletic director at Marble Falls High.
Ripple says he is so disabled he cannot even go to a rehab center “due to constant vomiting.”
 Marble Falls is about 45 miles northwest of Austin.
”At one time Ripple was a National Honor Society Student and ‘Academic All-District,'” the complaint states. “Now he is unable to live independently, let alone go to college. At one time was one of the highest rated linemen in the Central Texas area and was receiving interest for scholarships from a number of Division I colleges.”

Head injuries take center stage Saturday, but what can be changed?

It’s getting more and more close to a motor vehicle accident,” said veteran college athletic trainer Robb Williams who has experience with the NFL, Major League Baseball and Olympics. “It’s not quite like that, it’s become more and more like bull riding. It’s not if [a serious head injury] is going to occur, it’s when.” In the name of quality football, then, we’re apparently willing to put up with a lot more carnage. While advances in treatment, medicine and awareness have reduced the overall number of cervical cord injuries in recent years, it has been less than two years since Rutgers’ Eric LeGrand was paralyzed. Last year, Louisville’s Anthony Conner broke his neck and recovered. On Saturday alone, though, Wyoming’s Smith was knocked unconscious. Wilson’s availability is unknown for Arkansas’ SEC opener against No. 1 Alabama. Let’s hope that Walker doesn’t become another paralysis statistic.

Sept. 10, 2012

Getting their bell rung

In MMA, fighters who get knocked out are forced in some states to sit out, at the minimum, 30-day mandatory suspensions. In other state governing bodies, such fighters can be held out of competition for 90 days. Does it seem odd that when it comes to college athletes, players who get knocked out may be allowed back into action in a week?… Rolle said this is why the debate over paying college athletes gets so heated. “We feel like we were treated like commodities and there are some huge risks that you take. “I started seeing more and more brain diseases pop up over and over again. More studies are coming out. Obviously, they aren’t universally conclusive, but as a player, you hear about it and you read about it, but you can’t really think about it when you’re on the field, because it’s gonna slow you down.”

Sept. 8, 2012

Why concussions won’t bring down the NFL

What we do not know is why it affects Dave Duerson one way and Gary Fencik another. Duerson deteriorated so quickly, yet hard-hitting teammate Fencik still sounds and acts like the same kid who came out of Yale 36 years ago. What we do not is why NHL enforcers such as Wade Belak (age 35), Derek Boogaard (28) and Rick Rypien (27) all died in the summer of 2011 from issues related to their NHL careers, yet Keith Magnuson — who probably took as many punches as anyone ever has in hockey — was as sharp as a 20-year-old at 56, before his death in a car accident while a passenger in 2003. What we do not know is why Muhammad Ali is as he is, yet Lennox Lewis at 47 speaks the King’s English as properly as he did — perhaps even better — than when he became a professional boxer. What we absolutely do know is that getting hit in the head repeatedly is bad, something your mother probably ingrained in you by the time you were 10. But there’s absolutely no understanding of why it doesn’t impact some as much as others.

Sept. 5, 2012

Roger Goodell on player safety: ‘We all have to do more’

The NFL announced the largest donation in its history on Wednesday — $30 million to the National Institutes to Health. The funding is to be used at the discretion of NIH, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This act of generosity was not generated in a vacuum. Last week, the league announced a partnership with the U.S. Army in pursuit of a similar core goal — gaining a greater knowledge of the brain injuries that affect players and soldiers. Around the same time, the league filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking damages for 3,400 ex-players and family members who assert the league has been negligent in dealing with concussions.The latest initiative has earmarked money not just to help football players, but athletes across all sports, and will help establish the new Sports and Health Research Program within the NIH. On the eve of the landmark move, Commissioner Roger Goodell sat down to speak with

NFL circus comes back under growing concussion cloud

Every week, there is more. More about how many concussions are hidden, how many cannot be hidden, how little anybody can do to stop them without significant alterations in the game itself. There are more stories emerging about high school players who suffered concussions, became depressed and committed suicide. There is the slow drumbeat of suicides by former players: Terry Long, Ray Easterling, Dave Duerson, Junior Seau. The first three were suffering from various stages of dementia; the latter two shot themselves in the chest rather than the head, and Duerson said in a suicide note that he wanted to donate his brain to be studied for evidence of trauma. Seau didn’t leave a note.

Sept. 4, 2012

My Personal Struggle With The Future of Football

I realized this weekend, during college football’s opening weekend, that I can’t watch the game the way I used to. Not after a summer filled with reports about the dangers of the game, a suicide perhaps caused by concussion-related depression, and a dispute over player safety. I notice every bone-crushing hit, every whip of the head, every helmet-to-helmet clash in a way I never have before, and I wince not just because my favorite team’s best player might be hurt, but because somewhere, at some level, young men are racking up seemingly routine hits that will affect them for the rest of their lives. The thing that makes me wince hardest, though, is that I still watch. Football isn’t our most beautiful game, but it is our most pure. It combines speed, grace, and unadulterated brutality in a way that no other sport does, and there is something uniquely attractive about that. But I’m starting to question whether I should find that attractive, or whether I should even watch at all.

Sept. 1 ,2012

Football harms; colleges must help

Colleges sell dreams and ignore nightmares. Few student athletes are given comprehensive insurance for varsity athletic injuries. Many have inadequate policies. And college athletics nearly ignores the need for lifelong disability policies to cover paralysis or concussive dementia.The NCAA tacitly allows teams to balance students’ health with the teams’ interest rather than insisting that programs be designed to ensure that students’ health always comes first. Its policies with regard to preathletic assessments or helmet sensors to monitor concussive force are nonexistent or lax. By not requiring colleges to provide comprehensive and long-lasting insurance, it has pushed the cost of students’ injuries and disabilities onto students, their parents and society at large.

The Longform Guide to Football in Crisis

Journalists’ interest in football violence is nothing new, as this grim illustration from an 1891 issue of Harper’s proves. But over the last few years, as the science has improved and the suicides have mounted, the NFL’s concussion crisis has become something of its own beat. An issue that didn’t exist 10 years ago is now inextricably linked with the sport’s future, and reporters across the country have been trying to make sense of it. Some highlights:

Aug. 31, 2012

Former USC lineman Armond Armstead sues school, others

Former USC football player Armond Armstead filed a lawsuit against the school and other defendants Thursday, claiming he received improperly administered painkilling injections that caused him to suffer a heart attack and hurt his chances for an NFL career. The University Park Health Center and James Tibone, the Trojans’ team physician, and an unnamed pharmaceutical company also are named as defendants in a 38-page lawsuit that was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit also claims that USC representatives concealed the injections from other physicians and also hindered Armstead’s attempt to transfer to another school for his senior season and to be drafted by an NFL team.,0,1548637.story

Aug. 30, 2012

Game Over

This fall, for the first time I can remember, I won’t be watching football. I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss sack dances and perfect spirals; leggy cheerleaders in long boots and creeping stadium shadows in the late afternoon; self-serious, mansplainin’ studio analysts and the flexing, glowering Fox football robot. I’m going to miss thrilling to Tim Tebow’s game-winning overtime touchdown toss in last year’s playoffs; I’m going to miss giggling at, like, 75 percent of his other passes. Mostly, I’ll miss the escape. …. Currently, about 3,000 former players and surviving family members are suing the NFL, essentially attempting to hold the league liable. I have no idea if the plaintiffs will win in court. I know they have a moral case. I also know that the various lawsuits — and really, anyone who cares about football should try reading a few — make it awfully hard for me to feel good about the sport, about all the rationalizations that go in to being an informed, socially-aware football fan:

Teams face workers’ comp threat

More than anything else, said one insurance broker who has worked with an NFL team on its workers’ compensation benefits, the workers’ compensation reality could be the one item that forces significant changes to how the game is played on the field. Linemen, for example, might not be allowed to crash into each other from three-point stances in the near future, said Duke Niedringhaus of J.W. Terrill, a St. Louis-based insurance firm that has brokered workers’ compensation insurance for NFL teams. And while others disagree with that assessment, there is agreement among insurance, NFL and legal sources that workers’ compensation issues are yet another looming financial cloud for teams.

Aug. 29, 2012

Bryan Namoff files $12 million lawsuit against D.C. United, claiming medical negligence involving career-ending concussion in 2009 MLS match

The complaint, filed in D.C. Superior Court, alleges United was “negligent in its management, care and treatment” of Namoff after he was injured in a game at RFK Stadium on Sept. 9, 2009. He played three days later, which ultimately was the final appearance of his nine-year career. Namoff, now 33, says he suffered brain damage and cognitive, memory and sensory loss. He also has permanent headaches and fatigue, sleep problems and hypersensitivity to motion, the lawsuit says. Namoff’s wife Nadine is a co-plaintiff. They are seeking $10 million for medical negligence and $2 million for the impact on their marriage. Namoff has not been able to work in two years and has continued to incur medical expenses.

League seeks to dismiss lawsuits

The two sides will have until mid-December to argue their case. “The judge’s job is to determine whether the players’ claims arise out of the collective bargaining agreement or if those claims are independent of the agreement itself,” said Paul D. Anderson, a legal analyst who runs the website If the players prevail and the lawsuit proceeds, the NFL already has said it would need about six years to determine the viability of each plaintiff in the case before proceeding to trial. Since 2007, the NFL has offered those players whose head injuries have resulted in dementia to enroll in the 88 Plan, named after John Mackey, a former tight end who suffered from the symptoms. The plan pays for $100,000 a year worth of medical costs if the ex-player is living in a hospital or an assisted living community, and $88,000 a year if he is living at home. Since 2007, the league says it has distributed more than $18.6 million to former players.

Aug. 28, 2012

NFL Youth Football Fund faces crisis

Now, with youth football in peril due to the health and safety concerns of parents, the piggy bank is almost empty. An ESPN review of tax forms for the non-profit NFL Youth Football Fund shows that nearly all of the $175 million endowment has been spent. Forced to dip into its reserves after NFL support was halted, the foundation saw its assets fall from $84 million in 2006 to $19 million in 2010, the most recent tax year on file. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said another $13 million will be drawn from the fund this year. Aiello declined to say how much money — if any — will be left in the fund after the latest checks are written, only that the NFL is in a period of “re-assessment” and will continue to support the grassroots program.”Our commitment to youth football is going to be stronger than ever following the re-evaluation,” he wrote in an email to “Outside the Lines.” “How can funds best be spent to both grow the game and add a health and safety focus? That is the question.”

Aug. 27, 2012

Albert Breer from confirms what I said last week following the misleading report from the LA Times:


Presence of CTE in Junior Seau’s brain unclear after autopsy

The initial coroner’s report proves very little when it comes to Seau’s condition as it related to CTE, two sources with direct knowledge of the concussion lawsuit against the NFL and the medical process, said Monday. “It’s very important to emphasize that this was the coroner’s report, not the CTE study,” said a medical source involved with the lawsuit. “People with CTE, even in their 40s, rarely if ever have gross abnormalities with their brain. You can’t determine whether there’s CTE through an autopsy.”

Aug. 26, 2012

Concussion test may not be panacea

“It is a major conflict of interest,” says Christopher Randolph, professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago and former team neuropsychologist for the Bears. “The people looking at this test tend to be the same few who are invested in it. What if they’re offering something that turns out to not be important? What if their research results are incompatible with their perception of their product?” …. When one considers that 3 million ImPACT tests have been administered at the middle school and high school levels alone, according to a press release promoting ImPACT’s involvement with Dick’s, it becomes clear that ImPACT isn’t just a marketing machine, but a cash-flow juggernaut. If each of the company’s partners has just one credentialed consultant, ImPACT would take in up to $10 million a year, not counting sales of its tests. And each of its revenue streams is like an annuity, generating money year after year without ever requiring more work. That’s why ImPACT often gives away the first year of testing for free; once a school or a doctor has baseline data for a group of athletes, they are sure to keep paying so they can evaluate injuries and bring new players into the system. So while the relationships Lovell, Maroon and Collins had with NFL teams gave ImPACT a tremendous head start in the testing industry, its business model has accelerated its success.

Aug. 22, 2012

SN concussion report: NFL career worth it? Two Hall of Famers say no

The physical cost of playing in the NFL has been evident for decades. In recent years, the mental health problems related to concussions have come to light, and they are widespread. Sporting News surveyed 125 former players, and 115 of them said they suffered at least one concussion. Of those, 76 said they are dealing with mental health symptoms that could be related to concussions, though many said they could not definitively tie their problems to concussions. The issues range from short-term memory loss (56 players) to headaches (19) to depression (12). Sporting News asked the former players if, knowing what they know now, they would do their NFL careers over again. DeLamielleure was one of nine players—and two Hall of Famers—who said no. A tenth player said, “I don’t think so,” and a third Hall of Famer said “don’t know.” Three of the men were teammates on a Super Bowl winning team. Another, Tyrone Braxton, won three national championships and one runner-up at North Dakota State, and he played in four Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, winning two. He is in social work now and wishes he had done that as a young man instead of playing football because it’s more beneficial to society.

Aug. 21, 2012

SN concussion report: Losing grip on reality a fear that never stops

Ken Clarke shakes his head side to side, like he would as he walked off the field during training camp when he played in the NFL. Those were brutal sessions that left him with constant headaches. “I would think, ‘Man, my brain feels like it’s moving, like it’s knocking into the side of my skull.’ ”… If fear can be called a symptom, it’s the most prevalent problem former players face due to concussions, a Sporting News survey of 125 former players found. Eighty-five of them (68 percent) said they are afraid they will degrade mentally—or that they have already started to. That’s a startling number, considering “only” 76 of them said they have at least one mental health symptom that could be related to concussions. Nineteen players who reported no symptoms still worry about their mental health going forward.

Aug. 20, 2012

SN concussion report: Living through the fog of football

Koch is one of 125 former NFL players who took part in a Sporting News survey about the impact of concussions. The results suggest far more players suffered far more concussions than previously has been reported. The consequences are far-reaching for the players and their families. Of the 125 players, 115 reported suffering at least one concussion. Of those 115, 76 listed at least one mental-health symptom that could be related to their head injuries, though many said they could not definitively tie their problems to concussions. The most common ailment among the former players is memory loss—56 players listed it as a symptom. Other common problems include headaches (19), depression (12) and mood swings (seven).

Aug. 17, 2012

The Woman Who Would Save Football

To date, she has found ravages of CTE, the neurodegenerative brain disease that has become her life’s work, in over 70 athletes, nearly 80 percent of those she has examined. Among them: 18 of the 19 NFL players she has autopsied; three NHL enforcers; and a boy just 17 years old. McKee, who received $1 million in funding from the VA as well as a home for her lab, has also documented evidence of CTE in combat veterans exposed to roadside bombs.1She photographs every brain before autopsy and memorializes slivers of tissue in irrefutable portraits of disease that line the hallways of her lab. Exhibit A: a montage she created from sections of 27 damaged brains, white matter arranged like so many Marilyn Monroes by Andy Warhol. “This is Eric Scoggins,” she says. “This is Wally Hilgenberg. This is Mike Borich, a college player. We got it from the coroner, so it’s not a complete section. This is John Grimsley. This is Dave Duerson. Up here we have Derek Boogaard, the hockey player.” … When I see a brain that’s been damaged, it hits you like — ” She stops. “You see tearing of certain structures. You see holes where they shouldn’t be. You see shrinkage.”

Aug. 16, 2012

Senators applaud FTC action against false claims by Brain-Pad maker

“I applaud the FTC for taking action to stop Brain-Pad from making marketing claims about whether their mouth guards can reduce the risk of concussions,” Rockefeller said in a statement Thursday. “It is disturbing that certain sports equipment manufacturers could be exploiting parents’ concerns to make a profit. I hope this action by the FTC will send a message to other companies that they can’t use claims that aren’t backed by science.” … “Increased awareness of the dangers associated with sports concussions is extremely important,” said Udall. “But as the Brain-Pad settlement proves, some companies seem to be taking advantage of the fears of parents, coaches and athletes. The real danger behind anti-concussion marketing claims is in giving young athletes and their parents a false sense of security.”

Aug. 14, 2012

Football finally focusing on practice

Won’t limiting contact turn football into a wimpy sport? Aren’t two-a-days and Oklahoma drills how players prove their manhood? Traditionalists are saying this. Traditionalists once opposed the forward pass; traditionalists once said football players should be forbidden to drink water in heat. Traditionalists have said a lot of really stupid things…. Will the NFL lose concussion litigation? Numerous lawsuits involving more than 2,700 former players are tracked here. Some former players likely suffered neurological harm that was improperly treated, or could have been avoided if the player was kept off the field after showing symptoms of head trauma. Some former NFL players may have conditions associated with improper orthopedic care or overuse of injected or oral painkillers supplied by their teams. Some former players may have degenerative conditions associated with aging — problems that would have happened regardless of athletics. Some former players may simply be hoping for one last payday from the NFL. There’s an air of billboard hucksterism to the eagerness of lawyers to cash in. Practically everyone has “long-term health issues.”

Aug. 13, 2012

Patrick Larimore medically retires

Mora said it was a difficult decision for Larimore, but also a wise one for his long-term health. “Just because of what’s going on in the world of concussions, and the things that we’re finding out on a daily basis, I think you always have to be prepared for this when a guy is suffering multiple concussions and he plays that position,” Mora said. “When you’re a middle linebacker or an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman, you can’t play games without collisions. Unfortunately it took its toll on Patrick.”

Aug. 12, 2012

Is Football Wrong?

This still seems fantastical: The NFL is the biggest, most watched, most profitable sport in the United States, and the coverage of the 2012 season kickoff and beyond will be as massive and overwhelming as it always is. (Including in this magazine.) But as the evidence mounts and the voices become louder, every NFL observer has to, at one point, ask himself: Is it immoral to be a football fan? Can an intelligent, engaged, socially conscious person put the way he sees the world in every other context aside because he enjoys watching the Giants on Sunday? Those are legitimate questions, because you can’t just pretend anymore. Every time there’s a big hit on the field, I can’t keep my human side—the part that wonders what that’ll mean for the player when he’s 45—quiet anymore. Forget your own kid playing football. The ­question is whether anyone’s kid should.

Aug. 12, 2012

My interview with Tony Iliakostas’s Law and Batting Order Show

Aug. 11, 2012

Family donates Murdock’s brain to injury study

The family of O.J. Murdock has donated his brain tissue to researchers studying the effects of repetitive traumatic head injuries. Murdock, a former star wide receiver for Middleton High who went on to sign an NFL contract with the Tennessee Titans, died July 30 from an apparent self-inflicted gun wound to his head while sitting in his car just outside the fence of the football field he played on as a teen. His mother, Jamesena Murdock, said she made the decision to participate in the ongoing study shortly after her son died at Tampa General Hospital. She said she was contacted by officials from Boston University, which is conducting research in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Aug. 10, 2012

FENNO: NFL overdue for discussion of concussions

The NFL’s carnival is back, but I’ll never be able to watch it the same way. Football was as much a fixture in my life as the rest of the country’s. But the flood of concussion lawsuits against the league in the last year — up to 135 suits covering 3,402 ex-players according to a count by The Washington Times — changed everything. The thousands of pages of court documents stick in your mind, not for the legal machinations, but the allegations of lives unraveled because of a game…. You talk to doctors, lawyers, ex-players and legal analysts, digest study after study and, finally, standing on the sideline on an August afternoon as staffers rush fresh cans of Gatorade to players with sweat-darkened jerseys, each routine hit deposits dread in your stomach. I don’t see a fight for a spot on the 53-man roster; I see a man’s brain rattling around inside his skull like Jell-O.

Aug. 9, 2012

Coaches concussion bill reaches Governor

A bill requiring high school coaches to complete concussion training is heading to Governor Brown. The legislation (Assembly Bill 1451) passed the California Assembly and Senate in unanimous votes. According to information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site, children are more likely to get a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and take longer to recover than adults. Football and girls soccer were the high school sports that resulted in the most TBI emergency room visits. High school coaches are required to complete CPR and First Aid training every two years. The proposed concussion training would also occur every two years. An analysis of AB 1451 on the Official California Legislative web site ( noted, “This renewal requirement is important because the strategies for dealing with head injuries are often changing.”

Aug. 8, 2012

Heading off concussions

On Monday, Assembly Bill 1452 passed through the state assembly 65-0 on its way to the Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. The bill would require high school coaches to receive training every two years on recognizing the signs of concussions and responding to them appropriately. “If you’re an athletic coach, especially at this level, it is not only a job, it’s a responsibility of you and it should be a mandate to be so safety conscious,” said Phillip De Rosa, head girls’ soccer coach at Burlingame High School. “You have to remember, we’re dealing with kids. Parents entrust the kids to us and we want to make we have all the knowledge that we possibly can to keep those kids safe.” “I’m not surprised,” said Steve Sell, head football coach at Aragon. “I think history shows, once something like this gets proposed, it becomes law faster than anything. Nobody is going to oppose it. Right now, it’s a hot issue.”

Aug. 7, 2012

New Rule Reduced Concussions on Kickoffs, Study Says

Jesse David, senior vice president at Edgeworth Economics, said the number of concussions reported on kickoffs decreased by about 43 percent from 2010 to 2011. That led to a slight drop in the overall number of reported concussions, reversing a multiyear trend toward more head injuries, he said. “Most concussions are happening somewhere else, but kickoffs was one that they felt, I presume, that it was pretty easy to target,” David said Tuesday, in an interview with The Associated Press. “And it looks like the rule did what it was supposed to do.”

Aug. 6, 2012

The End of Football Fast Approaches

And why is it now being said football can’t be fixed?  And say, once the plaintiff’s bar gets involved here, and that’s the tort lawyers, and there are massive lawsuits that have been filed… I don’t know that I’m ever gonna be able to watch this game the same now.  I’m gonna have to turn the sound off, I guarantee you….Look at how popular boxing used to be. Look at how popular smoking used to be. Tort lawyers got involved in both. Tort lawyers are involved here now. Liberals are involved: “Game needs to be fixed. Game can’t be fixed, though. Oh, it can’t be fixed!” Mike Ditka says you can’t take the hits out of it. Take the facemask off, Ditka says! You want to stop head injuries, take the face mask off. There are all kinds of ideas like that. That’s not gonna satisfy. Once the game “needs to be fixed,” that’s it. So how are the people that want this game irreparably harmed going to pull it off?

Aug. 4, 2012

The Autopsy That Crashed the NFL’s Mental Health Party

In other words, a hotline is extremely useful when the problems are psychologically triggered, not neurologically based. And that’s the rub. Virtually the entire conversation surrounding the NFL and mental health is the neurological side of the continuum. It’s about concussions, CTE and the long-term damage caused by playing football. What is a Life Line professional going to say to the wife of a retired player who calls and says her husband is exhibiting symptoms of CTE — memory problems, major depression, severe mood swings, etc.? Or worse, my husband has a shotgun in the closet and he’s talking about using it. There are only two choices: call 911 or take your husband to the emergency room immediately.

Aug. 3, 2012

Could O.J. Simpson be the next former NFL player to file a concussion lawsuit against the league? Prisoners still have a right to sue. Perhaps, lawyers have even tried contacting him while in jail. Or, O.J. himself may have heard about the litigation and decide to file a lawsuit pro se. In either event, and despite his past criminal acts, he has suffered repeated concussive and sub-concussive blows.

I found this article from Slate, published in 2007, to be pretty fascinating, which led me to wonder, could O.J. be next? Stay tuned….

Squeezing O.J.’s Brain

A lack of published reports doesn’t mean Simpson never sustained brain trauma. In the 1960s and 1970s, when the dangers of head injuries weren’t well-known, players and trainers rarely reported concussions. Even today, players often don’t say when they’ve suffered a head injury. Christopher Nowinski, a former pro wrestler who wrote Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis and now heads up the brain-trauma-focused Sports Legacy Institute, told me that 50 percent of players admit to feeling concussionlike symptoms in anonymous surveys. That’s a far greater number than have gone public with their injuries. It’s also worth noting that in Simpson’s era, helmet safety standards weren’t close to today’s level—neither was the size of the opposing linebackers. According to the neurosurgeons I spoke with, brain trauma alone can’t turn you into a criminal. (Hollywood seems to think otherwise.) The doctors did say, however, that traumatic brain injuries can make a person more violent and short-tempered.

Aug. 2, 2012

The concussion litigation – Interview with Paul D. Anderson

To get the readers close to this exciting topic, I have invited an expert in this field, the editor of the NFL Concussion Litigation blog, Paul D. Anderson to an interview.

Sándor Gaál: How dangerous are these lawsuits for amateur sports (NCAA, High School football, etc.)? Do these endanger their future?


Paul D. Anderson: The NCAA is currently facing a similar class action lawsuit that could cost it millions. There are also several lawsuits at the high school level brought by individual students who were severally injured after a coach returned a student to play after failing to notice the signs of concussions.


Though the lawsuits have the potential to scare parents away, I think they actually will create change for the better. The lawsuits have brought on a new sense of awareness about the dangers of head injuries in sports. It has allowed parents, coaches, health care providers and administrators to get educated about concussions. Contact sports can continue to thrive as long as there are responsible and educated people around to supervise the game.

Read the rest here:

Aug. 1, 2012

Why Most NFL Teams And The NFLPA Have Escaped Being Named Defendants In NFL Concussion Litigation

He asks, “wasn’t the NFLPA privy to the same independent scientific information relating to the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head?  Why didn’t the NFLPA adopt such studies and bring it to the negotiating table when the collective bargaining agreements were negotiated in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s?”…  However, Anderson believes that it may be a viable strategy for future plaintiffs to name NFL member clubs as defendants.  ”As we saw in the lockout, the public embraces the ‘millionaire vs. billionaire’ argument,” explained Anderson. “Take it a step further and give the defendants a face: former players dying and suffering, unable to afford health care vs. billionaire owners (e.g. Jerry Jones, as opposed to just the NFL Shield). That picture may resonate with a jury.”

July 31, 2012

Concussions and Head Impacts May Accelerate Brain Aging

“What we don’t know is if you had a single concussion in high school, does that mean you will get dementia at age 50?” Broglio said. “Clinically, we don’t see that. What we think is it will be a dose response. “So, if you played soccer and sustained some head impacts and maybe one concussion, then you may have a little risk. If you went on and played in college and took more head balls and sustained two more concussions, you’re probably at a little bigger risk. Then if you play professionally for a few years, and take more hits to the head, you increase the risk even more. We believe it’s a cumulative effect.”

July 30, 2012

Doctors key players in NFL concussion litigation

The increased scrutiny is leading to a shift in football culture that doctors should be part of, said Andrew Blecher, MD, a California-based family physician who specializes in sports medicine. He is also a team physician for an area high school and two community colleges. “The media coverage and the lawsuits that are coming, all of this is creating an opportunity for change,” he said. “Hopefully, primary care physicians are going to be more aware of what to look for. They need to know the law in their state, and they need to know what the current guidelines are.”… Emergency physicians and others who treat concussed athletes at hospitals have an increased liability risk, Dr. Blecher said. “There are definitely a lot of primary care and ER physicians that are still unaware of what the most recent guidelines are,” he said. “Those are the ones that are most at risk, and they probably don’t know that they are at risk.”

July 2, 2012

NFL Concussion Litigation Sideshow: The Battle Between Helmet Manufacturers

Schutt Sports is not the only Riddell competitor questioning the Virginia Tech study.  Helmet manufacturer Xenith, has also criticized the ranking concept, releasing the following statement: “Do not believe any overly simplistic claims, any short story, and do not rely on anyone’s granting of stars.  Stars are for kindergartners.”  Xenith has a partnership with Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Warren Moon’s Sports 1 Marketing, LLC.  In Volume 2 Issue 7 of “The Sports 1 Review” that was published by Sports 1 Marketing earlier today, the company wrote that Xenith has “a new innovative product on the market that will reduce head injuries and concussions in all levels of football.”

July 1, 2012

FOOTBALL: Cognitive issues plague former Chargers player Hendrickson

Hendrickson played all 16 games in helping the Chargers reach the Super Bowl after the 1994 season. But 1995 was his final NFL season. With his playing career finished and not yet 30 years old, Hendrickson involved himself in activities including a multimedia company and a youth football camp. By his late 30s, Hendrickson’s family began sensing ominous changes. His memory was starting to slip; he had more trouble concentrating; and his job opportunities became fewer and shorter-lived. “I know I had a large vocabulary, but now I had a hard time reaching for it. That’s how I know something was wrong,” he said of that period. “And then I’d get in these states where I’d be comatose two or three days, unable to move.” Soon after Hendrickson received a job arranged by former Chargers teammate John Carney, Lewis got an alarmed phone call one evening. “He did really fine for three days and then all of a sudden, John calls me and says, ‘He didn’t show!’ ” she said. “So I called Steve and he said ‘(expletive), I forgot to go!’ I asked where he was at and he said, ‘I’m at the movies.’ ”

June 30, 2012

Concussion lawsuits are next big US litigation

“I don’t think it’s the same good versus evil you saw in the tobacco litigation, but there are some potential similarities,” said Gabriel Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane University. “It’s a lot grayer on both sides. That could change if some smoking guns are found during discovery if the case gets that far.”…. “The NFL took a page right out of the tobacco industry playbook and engaged in a campaign of fraud and deception, ignoring the risks of traumatic brain injuries in football and deliberately spreading false information to its players,” said Sol Weiss, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

June 29, 2012

Paul Anderson, a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City law school who tracks cases at the website, said the case to his knowledge is the first to cite individual teams — in this case, the Titans, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Lions, Bills and Eagles — in addition to the NFL as defendants. Anderson said he expects the case to be transferred to federal court and joined with the other 90-plus cases before the court in Philadelphia, based on previous rulings in a case filed on behalf of the family of the late Dave Duerson. Duerson died in 2011 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease associated with repeated head trauma.

June 25, 2012

Drew Brees teams up with PACE

PACE is the first national program of its kind, and Lovell hopes to see 4,000 high schools in the near future giving the ImPACT test. The program was founded by the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation. “I think this can be a game-changer,” Lovell said. “There’s a big educational component to make sure people understand what a concussion is. The Dick’s Foundation also is making the baseline testing available to schools and kids who would not have access to it otherwise.”

June 21, 2012

Can Science See Inside An NFL Player’s Skull Before It’s Too Late?

But new research at UCLA is using a cutting-edge biomarker that can attach itself to tau protein tangles so that they show up on PET scans of living subjects. Dr. Gary Small is currently running a pilot study on retired NFL players, imaging their brains in place. If he is successful, his work would reorient the science of head injuries around saving lives instead of merely contextualizing deaths. “I’ve always sort of thought of tau imaging as the holy grail on the issue of chronic brain damage, especially CTE,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, one of the founders of the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI).

June 20, 2012

NFL concussion lawsuit piques ex-pros’ interest

Although players like Hellestrae and Berry have their suspicions about the NFL’s veracity, they’re not comfortable with pursuing litigation. “I think it’s a legitimate suit, but I think maybe there are some guys not necessarily in it for the right reasons,” Berry said. “You’re going to have guys in it for the quick buck.” Last November, former Mesa Westwood, Arizona State and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White told The Arizona Republic that he suffered more than 20 concussions playing football and now constantly forgets why he entered a room. White, however, declined to be part of the master complaint. He knows football likely caused his memory loss.But he’ll never forget what the sport gave him. “If somebody asks me if I’m going to sue the NFL, I say ‘no,’ ” White said. “The NFL was really good to me. It’s responsible for everything I have.”

June 19, 2012

Leagues launch concussion study

The pact will involve athletes from both leagues who volunteer to be evaluated. (The Big Ten and Ivy League have more than 17,500 combined athletes.) It will form a joint network of neurologists, neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, sports medicine specialists and others who can evaluate athletes when they arrive on campus, during their playing careers and after they’re finished playing….”These are college students with a lot of their lives ahead,” Molfese said. “Their future is very important to them, so many of them would be willing and excited about participating.” Although both leagues have established basic concussion guidelines and have held events to discuss head injuries, a full-scale research endeavor involving 20 schools and thousands of athletes across a variety of sports is “unprecedented,” Harris said.

June 17, 2012

Radical Changes May Be Coming Soon To American Football

Can the NFL afford these suits? Some say they can, and point to the fact that the 32 teams have a value in excess of $40 billion, and revenues of $20+ Billion a year. I don’t think this argument stands up. There are 1,700 active pro players each year. The suits will go back at least ten-years. The evidence is that as many as 60% of all players have suffered multiple concussions during their careers. When a class action settlement is made, thousands of additional players will seek compensation. The individual awards will be in the millions. Based on this, the total damages could easily exceed $20 billion. That would put a very deep hurt on the NFL and the team owners.

June 16, 2012

Concussions are a big concern for those who focus on sports safety

“But the problem in my mind is not trying to reduce the effectiveness of the helmet, but to hold officials accountable for calling the rules that are on the books. For a long time, the rules have been there, you can’t use the helmet as the initial point of contact in blocking and tackling at the high school and college levels. But the officials don’t call it.” Although he is not attending the NOCSAE meeting (which will be at the Intercontinental Hotel) as an official NFL representative, Cantu said it’s going to be quite a challenge for the courts to rule on the concussion lawsuit. Read more here:

June 15, 2012

MLB gets stringent with concussions

The seven-day concussion disabled list, instituted last year, has improved player safety by reducing ambiguity in handling possible brain injuries. And stories of notable players who returned recently from concussions — Cleveland’s Carlos Santana last week, Baltimore’s Brian Roberts this week — illustrate just how stringent the sport’s protocols have become. According to data maintained by Major League Baseball, 11 players were placed on the disabled list last year because of concussions and head injuries. This year — with more than half the season to play — baseball has had eight. (The NFL, by comparison, saw a total of 190 concussions during 320 preseason and regular-season games in 2011.)

June 14, 2012

NFL Head-Trauma Lawsuit: What It Means for TV’s $50 Billion Business

Paul Anderson, an analyst who has been following day-to-day developments at, says potential damages could top $1.5 billion, the figure requested at one point by retired players for a medical fund. “Then you include past medical expenses, legal fees and punitive damages, and we could be close to $2 billion,” he predicts. The NFL’s broadcasting partners, which took in about $3 billion in football-related ad revenue in 2011, would likely escape liability, say lawyers. (In an ironic twist, CBS’ 60 Minutes and the news divisions of the networks helped expose the risks of playing.) And the NFL certainly could afford to pay out a substantial one-time settlement.

June 13, 2012

State of the NFL

Certain realities surrounding the sport need to be acknowledged. The most prominent is that, by its nature, football is as violent as most sports in the United States. Signing up to play comes with some inherent risks, but the NFL is in a position where it can and should take the initiative to become better informed on these issues. More importantly, the NFL has an implied responsibility to pass that information along to its employees. There is an obligation to take a closer look at the factual medical perils and not neglect credible medical reports when they are presented.

June 12, 2012

NFL Concussion Suit Likely To Get Sacked By Employment Law

The league has several potent arguments to head off this latest legal challenge to what is undeniably a violent and dangerous game. First, it will argue as it has done in previous player-injury cases that federal employment law governs any claims arising from injuries that occur on the field. The league most notably won with this tactic in 2005 when the Minnesota Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit by the widow of Minnesota Vikings tackle Korey Stringer. He died of heat stroke during practice and lawyers were unable to get around workers’ compensation laws that provide guaranteed benefits to injured employees but bar most civil suits. The league also can argue that Section 301 of federal labor law covers any claims since the players operate under a union contract that includes provisions for workplace injuries. A federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit by a Houston Oilers player who argued he was subjected to an abusive rehabilitation program, designed to get him to quit after he was injured, on that basis.

June 11, 2012

Michael LeRoy, expert on labor relations and law

Even if the players have a financial motivation, the fact that there is more evidence of long-term harm caused by concussions is reason enough for players to consider litigation. If one were to look for an ulterior motive, I would note that in the most recent round of negotiations with the NFL (including a trip through federal court), retirees found that their interests were subordinated to the interests of active players. So retiree benefits were substantially improved, but their bargaining demands were not met.

June 10, 2012

Former NY Giants great and Hall of Famer’s crusade to help NFL retirees reinforced by Ray Easterling’s suicide

Easterling sent the e-mail to Carson months before Easterling became the lead plaintiff in the first class action concussion-related lawsuit filed against the NFL. He had been moved by a letter Carson wrote about former Bears safety Dave Duerson (he played on the Giants’ 1990 Super Bowl team after Carson retired), who had committed suicide and was later found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease of the brain caused by head trauma. “He wrote that he didn’t know how much longer he could hold on,” Carson told the Daily News. Read more:

June 9, 2012

Can football be fatal?

The cold metal of a loaded .45-caliber pistol pressed into the skin between Candace Henry‘s eyes. Shane Dronett grew up in Orange just wanting to fish, hunt and play sports. He had been a 10-year National Football League veteran and, at least in past years, a good family man. Now, with his finger on the trigger, he was hunting his mother. “Are you ready to (expletive) die?” Candace said he screamed repeatedly at her. It was May 2007. Read more:

June 8, 2012

Former NFL players team up for lawsuit that says league hid brain injury risks

Neither Anderson nor Ganis believe the concussion lawsuit will bring the NFL to its knees. “The NFL is a $9 billion industry and projecting $20 billion of revenue by 2020,” said Anderson, “but there could be a global settlement later down the road, and I don’t think it’s going to bring them to their knees. It’s the biggest sport in all of America. They have the money. “But they also have a really good legal argument. Why give up when you have the law partially on your side right now? Morally, no doubt. All these tragic stories pull at the heartstrings of most people. But the law can be a different animal.”

June 7, 2012

Novel Brain Scan Can Detect Concussions

Now, a new study suggests that a novel imaging technique may cut this process down to a single scan which could definitively tell whether a patient is suffering from a concussion or not. This technology, known as diffuse tensor imaging (DFI), may help detect concussions after a traumatic brain injury, since approaches like computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) fail to demonstrate evidence of brain abnormalities.

June 6, 2012

Master complaint for concussion lawsuits coming Thursday

“I firmly believe the NFL could have and should have done more to protect Ray. That’s why I am seeking to hold the NFL accountable,” says widow Mary Ann Easterling. “Having lived through Ray’s struggle, I desperately hope and pray others can be spared the pain and suffering we have endured — and still endure every day.” In addition to seeking damages, the complaint asks the court to order the league to create a court-supervised medical monitoring of players for potential brain disorders or disease. “The medical monitoring should include a trust fund to pay for the medical monitoring and treatment of Plaintiffs as frequently and appropriately as necessary,” says the complaint.

June 5, 2012

A concussion discussion and timeline

THE BEGINNING 2002: Dr. Bennet Omalu makes news when he examines the 50-year-old brain of deceased Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame center Mike Webster. In the first examination of its kind on an NFL player, Omalu found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disorder associated with repeated head trauma. Today, according to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, the brains of 18 of 19 dead ex-NFL players have shown evidence of CTE.

June 4, 2012

More concussion info needed

AFL MEDICAL Officers Association chief Dr Hugh Seward has said it’s too early to make any strong link between concussion and depression. He said while the AFL continues to actively explore the health of past players in relation to possible consequences of concussion the evidence available at the moment around the issue was not conclusive enough to make the link.

June 2, 2012

Errict Rhett, Eddie Kennison join latest lawsuit vs. NFL

The plaintiffs named in the latest suit include Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Errict Rhett, former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Eddie Kennison III, and former Oakland Raiders defensive back James Davis and his wife, Henrietta. Attorneys are seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.

June 1, 2012

The Dissenter: Pro football’s loneliest position

This was after I asked the former cornerback great for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders whether coaches, team executives or even leagues are responsible for the epidemic of long-term injuries to current and former players. Hayes responded with the speed of a blitz. Despite his lifelong battle with stuttering, he said clearly, “It’s all on the players, not anybody else, because the players have the same gladiator genes that existed in Rome over 2,000 years ago. They have a love of football to the 10th power. So the players make the final call. Trust me. No matter what they are told by doctors or anybody else, they will fight to play.”

May 31, 2012

Football, like politics, is a red-state/blue-state thing

For much of the past half century, football has served as an apolitical uniter, the athletic equivalent of apple pie. In the red-state South, the college game is an unofficial civic religion; in blue states such as New York and California, the National Football League is wildly popular; in large cities and small towns alike, high school football teams serve as community totems; from coast to coast, Super Bowl Sunday has become a de facto national holiday. Recent medical research, however, suggests that football — violent by design — is much more hazardous to the brain health of its participants than once believed.

May 30, 2012

Woodard weighs legal choice on concussions

Woodard might become No. 21. On his desk is a stack of papers he received from the Provost Umphrey Law Firm for him to fill out. Before he does – if he does – he must first check the status of another possible concussion-related lawsuit in California. About a year ago, Woodard answered “a bunch of questions about concussions” from someone with The Cohen Law Firm in San Diego. The firm specializes in professional athlete workman’s compensation cases, according to the firm’s website.

May 29, 2012

Concussion suits have NFL, ex-players on collision course

For the former players, the case cannot move fast enough, said Sol H. Weiss, a Philadelphia lawyer who, with partner Larry Coben of the Anapol Schwartz firm, filed the Easterling suit. Weiss said that many players were active in the days before multimillion-dollar contracts and that those with neurological problems are struggling to earn a living: “A lot can’t find jobs. A lot of them can’t hold jobs.” Weiss said it’s difficult to say how many of the ex-players have developed dementia to the extent of Easterling’s. Former Eagle McMahon has publicly discussed his growing memory problems. Wayne Radloff, a former Falcons linebacker from the 1980s who is also a plaintiff in the Easterling suit, is disabled and can no longer operate his real estate business.

May 28, 2012

NFL could face thousands of lawsuits from ex-players over brain damage from concussions

By the 1950s, researchers examining dead punch-drunk boxers’ brains found severe degeneration that resembled Alzheimer’s disease, though in different locations, and usually without Alzheimer’s classic plaque blobs. The boxers’ brains had clumps of knotted-up nerve fibers that resembled twisted tree roots. The damage was in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas normally responsible for planning, motivation, emotional control, long-term memories, limb movements and sensory perception. That could explain the addled thinking, tremors, explosive rage and other symptoms typically seen in broken-down fighters.

May 27, 2012

Former Browns running back Jamal Lewis faces the uncertainties of brain injury from concussions

A couple of years ago, Lewis’s son, then 6, took up his father’s sport. He played tight end and nose guard on a team that won a championship. “At the end of the season,” Lewis says, “I asked him if he was going to play again, and he said no. I [asked] why, and he said, ‘I keep getting headaches, and I get tired of getting headaches.’ When he said that, I was like, no problem.”

May 25, 2012

Former Bills Great Sues NFL Over Concussion Problems

Harry suffers from symptoms that are often associated with repeated blows to the front part of the brain- depression, impulse control and problems with concentration. Just listen when I asked Harry a question about how back when he played players who were knocked woozy were treated. Scott Brown: “So there were no precautions about keeping you out (of the game) or anything?” Harry Jacobs: “No in those days…so with that premise, I forgot what the question, what was the question?” Harry now takes more than a dozen pills a day, a mix of prescription drugs and supplements to treat his depression and help him with his memory.

May 24, 2012

Macho culture at forefront of concussion issue

“I really get a kick out of this now; now the NFL says, ‘Oh, man, we gotta study this,'” Pete says. “They’ve been hiding this for years. They didn’t want to go there for years and years. They just did an outstanding job of throwing this through smoke and mirrors and (expletive). “I played with John Mackey his last year as a pro (in San Diego). He came out with John Unitas. There was something about the guy, being in the locker room, just listening to him speak, being as articulate as he was. Just a man. Just a leader. I’d vote for him for President. And (to see him) now — I couldn’t believe it.”

May 23, 2012

Fitch Affirms NFL’s A+ and Addresses Concussion Lawsuits

“Fitch is currently monitoring the concussion epidemic facing a number of the league’s retired players. In the short term, there are currently a number of pending lawsuits against the NFL which could award damages to retired players. The timing and potential liability is currently unknown. To the extent damages are awarded, Fitch will monitor the financial impacts, if any, to the NFL. Longer term risks associated with concussions could potentially impact both the quality of play as well as fan and corporate support. In Fitch’s opinion, it is far too early to measure any potential financial impact at this time.

Fitch importantly notes a number of recent changes implemented by the NFL’s competition committee to further protect players. A few of these changes include moving kick-offs to the 35-yard line to limit the number of injuries from what has historically been a high-injury element of the game. Other changes include the elimination of preseason two-a-day practices and reduced padded workouts to yesterday’s recommendation by owners to require players to wear certain leg pads (currently remains under discussion). Additionally, new increased game-day medical staff and examination procedures during NFL games are aimed at preventing increased serious injuries.

Furthermore, the new CBA includes $55 million including $22 million to healthcare or other benefits for retired players as determined by the NFLPA; $11 million to medical research agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA, and $22 million to charities as determined by the NFL. In Fitch’s opinion, continued oversight to protect current players while maintaining the integrity of the game and ensuring retired players are provided long-term benefits are key underlying fundamentals towards preserving the longevity and support for the game.”

Ex-Redskins up front on concussions

Said Rypien, “I don’t think anyone wants to ruin football. This is the greatest game in the world. Did we know all we need to even know about brain injuries? I don’t think we do. We understand some of it. Are we neurologists who understood what was going on? No. We played the game. “There are risks, but we want to make the game safer so we won’t have any more Dave Duersons, Ray Easterlings . . . ” … Warren’s message was clear: In this complicated, controversial search for answers and justice regarding player safety, choosing sides can also be perceived as dangerous. “What do you think is the reason why I wouldn’t join?” Warren asked.

Theismann: I have post-concussion syndrome

May 22, 2012

Widow continues fight against NFL

Even though Ray was going through treatment, his mind continued to deteriorate. Mary Anne says a week before he took his own life, Ray took a normal daytime drive to a location he goes to all the time. Mary Anne received a frantic call at work that Ray was lost. After guiding him to the location, Ray got lost again on the way back home. After her husband killed himself, Mary Anne decided to keep up the fight that Ray had started against the NFL. He was lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NFL, that says it knowingly knew of the dangers of concussions, but did nothing to help its players.

May 21, 2012

Injuries to head lead Sweat to new path

Choosing school over sport, Sweat offered the latest example of a changing attitude toward head injuries in football. His decision comes against the backdrop of increasing research and dialogue on the potential devastating long-term effect of concussions. In the past month alone, the suicide of 43-year-old former star linebacker Junior Seau stoked further debate on the link between head injuries and depression, more than 100 former NFL players filed a lawsuit arguing the league did not protect them from concussions, and the Big Ten announced plans to launch a sweeping concussion research initiative. Sweat is the second OSU player in the last year and second college player in the past month to step away from football because of concussions. Former Buckeyes linebacker Ross Homan, a sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL draft, called it a career last September. Chad Diehl, a former Clemson fullback signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent, did the same this week after suffering a concussion at rookie camp — his second this year.

May 20, 2012

Levens turns focus to football concussions

Since Levens wrapped up 21 interviews over a weekend in mid-April, Easterling and Seau committed suicide and shoved the issue of concussions to the forefront of the offseason. The timing was not good for Levens’ sleep patterns. “I didn’t sign up for this,” Levens said. “Now, guys think like I’m the official spokesperson for concussions in the NFL. That’s far from the truth. I’ve just been doing some interviews and letting people know about the documentary. However, I do know a lot about the issue.” He acknowledges the extreme stress associated with finishing the project. One player called last week, telling Levens about his persistent headaches, how he couldn’t afford treatment and how he didn’t plan to continue living if he didn’t get treatment.

May 19, 2012

Boyd on Seau suicide: Researchers need brains ‘that can speak to them’

“I’m sick of it,” Boyd said, referring to the third suicide by an NFL player in the last 15 months (Duerson and Ray Easterling were the others). “Junior Seau was a great person. He did so much charity work. Having said that, maybe it’s time that we stop — I don’t think ‘glorifying’ is the right word — but stop calling them martyrs. “It’s time to think of the guys who are not killing themselves, honor the people who are suffering. And the wives are suffering just as much as caregivers. They’re hanging on, and they deserve credit. I just don’t want to honor the negative.”

May 18, 2012

Concussion lawsuit plaintiffs an eye- opening cross section of NFL past

There are more than 2,000 players suing the NFL claiming, mostly, that the league engaged in a concussion coverup. Some of the names are incredible — Super Bowl MVPs, Hall of Famers, Pro Bowl performers. Everyone from punters to linebackers to wide receivers. They are smart men: lawyers, actors, businessmen, analysts. Some played five years, 10, more. In some cases, they made it to Canton. In others, they went back to Scranton…. We looked at the entire list of plaintiffs obtained from news reports and the site, which has expertly tracked every concussion lawsuit. We picked 50. Then the names were Googled, Wiki’d, put through LexisNexis and several football databases for more information.

May 17, 2012

The Football Concussion Crisis, Part 1

NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson joins former NBC anchor Stone Phillips and pathologist Bennet Omalu for a discussion of chronic traumatic encephalopathy among football players. Recorded May 12th at the, site of the new play Headstrong about the brain injury issue:

May 16, 2012

Killing a few brain cells with Kansas City’s NFL concussion expert

“It’s tough,” Anderson says. “If I could pick one guy who really stuck out the most and had the biggest impression on me, it was Junior Seau. I always wore his jersey: No. 55. I felt so tough because his name was ‘Say-ow!’ What cooler name could you have?”… That doesn’t mean he isn’t sympathetic to retired players. Halfway through his second beer, he tells a story that illustrates just how awful things can be for the players he writes about. Following an April conference in Las Vegas for a faction of retired players trying to shake benefits out of the NFL and NFL Players Association – he describes it as a “bitchfest” – he spent several hours at the airport with a retired former Pro Bowl player. He won’t name the player because the Pro Bowler is not involved in any lawsuits, but the player is considering joining one. The former star was a mess.

May 15, 2012

Life after football can be terrifying prospect for ex-players

The family members and friends these players supported tend to disappear when the revenue streams are curtailed. That creates a variety of emotions, including ones of failure that the player can’t help support a sibling anymore. There is caring for a family instead of just providing. There is the physical toll, which every player knows is part of the deal. They absorb and inflict. There is boredom. There is the unknown. Most painful, some players say, the game goes on without you. “It’s tough because you’ve been on a pedestal most of your life,” Spikes said. “Then there’s not even a pedestal.”

May 14, 2012

AFL to explore the issue of concussion injuries

The league has also funded research into the issue. “We’ll probably be ahead of other groups in answering some of the long-term consequences of concussion but there is a lot of other little things like three strikes and how long should you be out that we will be able to address with time as well,” Harcourt said… AFL general manager of football operations Adrian Anderson said the league had been ”extremely proactive and we will continue to be proactive”.

”I think that is all you can do in that situation so if legal action comes we can put our hand on our hearts and say we are doing everything we possibly can to make this game as safe as possible within the confines of a body contact sport.,” Anderson said.

May 13, 2012

Former Chiefs among those suing NFL over alleged head trauma

When The Star examined the available documentation of the 76 lawsuits, compiled on the website, it found that at least 116 former Chiefs players, including three members of the team’s Hall of Honor — Still, former offensive lineman Ed Budde and former defensive lineman Curley Culp — are among those suing the league that once employed them…Paul D. Anderson is a Missouri native who recently graduated from UMKC’s law school. He runs, which gathers and analyzes the suits against the NFL. It’s unknown whether the suits will reach trial; Anderson says their first obstacle will be surviving a motion to dismiss, on the grounds that the league’s CBA states that labor disputes are matters for arbitration and not the courts. Regardless, Anderson predicts that they will advance. “A huge hurdle,” says Anderson, 25. “There are some strong allegations that really, more than likely, bring it outside the collective-bargaining agreement. … Underneath what it represents is that former players are (ticked) off at other guys getting paid huge, huge dollars, and they’re not even supposedly getting health care. “That’s the underlying theme, and now they have ammunition.” Read more here:


May 12, 2012

Why concussion lawsuits won’t bring an end to football.

But that pathway to football’s demise seems both unlikely and undesirable. To understand why, you first need to grasp how insurance works in the football world. High schools, colleges, and other amateur organizations that sponsor football teams typically carry at least two types of relevant insurance policies. The kind of policy they take out specifically for sports is supplemental medical insurance. If brain injuries were like torn ACLs—immediate, painful, and expensive to treat in the short term—then insurance companies might consider hiking those premiums for schools that play football. But they aren’t. The brain lacks pain receptors, so even a brutal concussion usually registers only as a sort of foggy dullness in the mind. And the damage adds up over time, so that some of the worst symptoms—memory and hearing loss, depression, speech impediments, dementia—only reveal themselves years after a player’s career is over. By then, medical insurance is beside the point.

May 11, 2012

Hall of Fame receiver Art Monk latest to sue NFL

“Lets not have any more players hurt by this,” Tom Girardi, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, told The Washington Times in a phone interview Thursday. “What the [expletive] does it take? This game has to change dramatically or you’re going to have this situation over and and over.” Monk, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, is one of 63 plaintiffs. Two identical suits were filed in the court last week by a total of 198 ex-players. Fifteen played for the Redskins in addition to Monk, from Paul Laaveg to Robert Brunet. A wave of lawsuits have followed, encompassing over 2,000 ex-players, according to, one site tracking the legal wrangling. The web site first reported Monk’s lawsuit.

May 9, 2012

Life after football has its challenges, but this former Browns special teamer has no regrets

“I believe in personal responsibility,” he said. “I believe that’s gone nowadays. I don’t want to blame anybody. I was getting paid very well. There are some disability programs available and I’m going to use them. I don’t believe I’ll go beyond that.” Sorensen recently attended a three-day seminar at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta organized by the NFL Player Development Department. The Career Transition Program, established by the league in 2010, seeks to educate newly retired NFL players on how to transition to their next career.

Seau’s death heightens concerns over concussions

“I had six or seven black spots on my brain the size of 50-cent pieces,” said Fleming, who requested the MRI even though he was symptom-free. “The doctor says I was on a slow highway to Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s and everything else. Fleming, 70, today considers himself lucky. He credits about six months of therapy in hyperbaric chambers — three sessions per week, one hour each time — with producing a clean follow-up MRI. “I nipped it at the bud,” he said. “A lot of guys don’t want to do it. A lot of guys get onto that highway and get into the fog and it’s going to be too late.”

May 8, 2012

NFL concussion conundrum: As lawsuits increase, league runs risk of massive judgment

That path, however, won’t be without challenge, experts say. “I approach the NFL argument with some measure of skepticism,” said Bill Gould, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and currently a Stanford Law School professor who has written extensively on sports law. “The mere fact that there is a CBA with dispute-resolution procedures is only the beginning [of the analysis].” … Paul Anderson, a graduating law student whose website has become a must-read for those following the lawsuits because of its depth and daily updates, concluded that both sides have good arguments. But, he added, “the safe money is on Judge Brody not dismissing the cases.” She could rule by the end of the year on that question, and if she does not dismiss, the league is likely to appeal. But if the cases proceed, the league could settle, as the risk of a massive damages and inherent negative publicity from trials could be too great. Read more:

May 7, 2012

NFL isn’t in danger of dying soon, but you can hear whispers

The NFL has been planning its legal strategy for many months against these lawsuits, I’m told, and part of the league’s defense will be that players were given all of the relevant information needed about concussions. Lawyers for the players will argue there was a concussion cover-up. Earlier this year, Duerson’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL and Riddell helmets and the NFL. Recently, as the site reported, the NFL asked a judge to move the case to federal court so it can be merged with other concussion suits in Philadelphia (which would be favorable to the NFL since they could fight many cases at once instead of separately) while lawyers for Duerson wanted the case to stay in the lower court. The NFL has moved to dismiss the case, but if the Duerson suit sticks, in many ways, it could become a true test case for other concussion lawsuits.

May 5, 2012

Junior Seau family: Brain study OK

On Friday, Easterling’s attorney told ESPN’s Paula Lavigne that Easterling shot himself in the head. About six months ago, Easterling decided he wanted to donate his brain to Boston University for researchers to establish a link between the concussions he suffered during his playing days and his worsening dementia, attorney Larry Coben said. But this spring, Easterling made a trip to the university for testing and came back from the visit “fit to be tied,” said Coben. He was upset and disillusioned, he said. Easterling’s dementia had progressed to the point where he was routinely getting lost, having to call his wife for directions, and was just generally frustrated, said Coben. “I think it was just another brick on the pile,” Coben said.

May 4, 2012

Merril Hoge: Kurt Warner is uneducated and irresponsible

But while Hoge is concerned about players suffering brain injuries on the field, he takes strong issue with those who say that concussions are so dangerous that children shouldn’t play football. And on ESPN’s NFL Live, Hoge went off on Kurt Warner, who said on Thursday that he wouldn’t want his kids playing football before later backing away from those comments. “I think it’s irresponsible and unacceptable,” Hoge said of Warner suggesting that football is a dangerous game for children. “He has thrown the game that has been so good to him under the bus. He sounds extremely uneducated.”

May 3, 2012

More players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL

CNN — More than 100 former professional football players, including former Atlanta Falcons Jamal Anderson, Chris Doleman, and O.J. Santiago, are adding their names a growing list of players suing the NFL. They join more than 1,500 other players who claim that the National Football League hid the dangers of concussions from them. The latest lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by attorney Mike McGlamry, states that the NFL “repeatedly refuted the connection between concussions and brain injury.”

May 1, 2012

Head Games

Malcolm Gladwell: The factor that I think will be decisive is the head-injury issue. Colleges are going to get sued, and they will have to decide whether they can afford their legal exposure. That said, the issue ought to be how big-time college sports subverts the academic mission of university education.

Gladwell: You can certainly mitigate the risk. But remember the issue isn’t concussions. It is “repetitive subconcussive impact.” It’s not the one big hit. It is the cumulative effect of thousands of little hits that lineman and defensive backs (the most affected positions) endure, play after play. Can you take the “head” out of line play? You can. But then what you are left with would no longer be called tackle football. It would be called touch football.

Professor discusses concussions and their genetic factors

Concussions have been recognized as a medical condition since Hippocrates identified the symptoms surrounding them in the fourth century. The word ‘concussion’ comes from the Latin word ‘concuss’ meaning ‘to shake violently.’ A concussion occurs when a person suffers a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere if impulsive force is transmitted to the head. Today, a concussion is a common injury with almost 1.7 million occurring per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In 1905, President Roosevelt was concerned with the number of football-related deaths and considered a ban on the sport. (The leather helmets used were not substantial enough to protect their heads from trauma). The NCAA began as the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), which aimed to protect young athletes from danger and exploitation of popular contact sports, such as football.

It is safe to say that the type of injuries induced by contact sports over a century ago has changed. The evolution of helmets put an end to skull fractures, however the risk of serious life threatening brain injury and death is still an issue.!traps/id/c658013e-7d31-4aa4-9acf-51828eb1bf01/jump/67KBJIpsR002q6JFNop7

April 30, 2012

Brown: Not even Raiders’ famed ‘Badasses’ embraced bounty system

The former Oakland Raider and Hall of Fame cornerback was part of one of most menacing and intimidating defenses in NFL history, yet he stands behind what Goodell and the NFL are doing with … and to … the Saints in one of the ugliest scandals in league history. “It’s ridiculous that things like that can happen, where you put in money to hurt a player,” said Brown, here this weekend to announce the Raiders’ first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. “There’s no room for it in the National Football League, and there never should be.”

April 29, 2012

Disconnect grows between former, current players regarding concussions

One of the biggest hurdles facing the former players suing the NFL for concussions suffered during their playing careers arises from the claim that the NFL failed to warn the players regarding the risks of concussions. The NFL undoubtedly will defend that specific allegation by arguing that, even if warnings had been issued, the players would not have stopped playing football.

NFL doc: Barring concussed players ‘definitely could be something in the future’

At least Dr. Robert Cantu, the senior advisor to all Head, Neck and Spine committees (Ed. Note: SI incorrectly lists him as a co-chair), says that it “definitely could be something in the future” anyway. Cantu spoke with Jim Trotter for an article in the latest Sports Illustrated and conceded the possibility of instituting “preemptive measures to keep concussed players out of the NFL” (Trotter’s words) “definitely could be something in the future” (Cantu’s). The doctor also said, however, that “the concrete data isn’t there right now” to warrant doing such a thing. But it’s at least, apparently, something that’s being considered. “What’s going to help in the future is we’ll not only be able to look at [a player’s] history of concussions, but we’ll be able to see structural changes on imaging studies that aren’t available now,” Cantu said. “Or there will be bio markets in the blood or spinal fluid that will allow us to identify individuals who have already had brain injuries that we can’t detect right now. These things will greatly aid making those judgment calls.”

April 26, 2012

Researcher Highlights the Permanent Effects Repeat Concussions Have on Brain Function

“Our research suggests that the cumulative effects of repeat concussions on brain function may be permanent,” said Dr. Meehan. “Our current practice of removing athletes from play and allowing for complete recovery before returning them to additional risk likely reduces the effects of repeat concussions on brain function.” Concussion management is a critical and controversial aspect of sports medicine. They are common, underreported, and often occur in young, healthy individuals. Symptoms include headache, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and poor balance. Research has the potential to help us understand the ability of the brain to heal after trauma and possibly prevent athletes from suffering long-term effects.

April 24, 2012

Hearing signals start of fight between players, NFL

The meeting in Philadelphia before U.S. District Judge Anita Brody is a preliminary to a complex case that could have major medical and monetary fallout. “(Today’s meeting) is really trying to set up a schedule and a procedure for how to deal with the coordinated cases,” says Gene Locks, whose Locks Law Firm has filed 19 suits on behalf of about 750 former players. The first suit was filed in August by seven former players. Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famers Randy White and Rayfield Wright were among 31 who sued the NFL on Tuesday in federal court in Texas. It was the 64th concussion suit filed in the past eight months, according to

April 23, 2012

Slate’s “Hang Up and Listen” by Stefan Fatsis – giving me a 4-minute shout-out. Thanks, Stefan.

Federal concussion lawsuit changes with death of Ray Easterling

“We’ll change it from a personal-injury case to a wrongful-death case,” Philadelphia attorney Larry Coben told USA Today on Sunday…He and a group of seven former players sued the NFL in Philadelphia in August, claiming the league failed to properly treat players for concussions and tried to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries. It was the first potential class-action lawsuit that was filed. Sixty-one concussion-related lawsuits now have been filed, according to

April 22, 2012

My first radio appearance on “Courts and Sports” with John M. Phillips and NFLer Rashad Jennings: (at minute 29)

Easterling’s battle no longer his own

“He had been feeling more and more pain,” Easterling’s wife Mary Ann Easterling told “He felt like his brain was falling off. He was losing control. He couldn’t remember things from five minutes ago. “It was frightening, especially somebody who had all the plays memorized as a player when he stepped on the field.”

April 21, 2012

Ray Easterling, lead plaintiff in NFL concussion lawsuit, commits suicide

The concussion lawsuits brought by a large group of former NFL players, which currently name over 1,000 ex-NFLers in a series of class action claims, lost a formidable voice on Thursday. 62-year-old Ray Easterling, who started at safety for the Atlanta Falcons from 1974-1977, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Richmond, Va. Richmond police Captain Yvonne Crowder told that local authorities have ruled the death a suicide. Easterling, part of the underrated “Grits Blitz” defenses run by defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville, was found by his wife, Mary Ann. Over the last 20 years, he had suffered from many of the symptoms common to former players who suited up and kept playing through multiple concussions in the days when there was not the same information about the long-term effects of head trauma that we have today. Easterling went through bouts of depression and insomnia, and suffered severe memory loss toward the end of his life. When you go through the lawsuits filed by ex-players, the aftereffects are frighteningly similar.

April 20, 2012

Matt Schobel files concussion suit

Meanwhile, the former player who filed the first concussion lawsuit against the league, Ray Easterling, reportedly has committed suicide, according to His claims against the league could be converted to a wrongful death action, similar to the suit filed by the estate of Dave Duerson against the NFL.

Another day, another concussion lawsuit, as Schobel files

That makes more than 1,200 plantiffs in at least 50 suits against the NFL, according to the web site NFL concussion litigation. The allegations in the cases vary as do the other specifics. Schobel’s suit, of which the complaint was obtained by The Big Lead, has been filed in Houston in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

High School Sued by Family of Former Football Player Who Suffered Concussions

Kim and Joseph Rouchleau, the parents of former Three Forks High School football player Michael Rouchleau, have filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming that their son suffered a life-altering traumatic brain injury as a result of his participation in the school’s football program. The complaint, filed in Gallatin County District Court, alleges that the plaayer’s coaches were negligent when they sent him back on to the field to practice with the team, in spite of a doctor’s recommendation.

April 19, 2012

Un-Ringing the Bell: Lessons From ‘Eveland v. San Marcos Unified School District’

Because the case of catastrophically injured Mission Hills High School football player Scott Eveland never went to trial, the truth will never be determined by a jury. But let’s suppose for a moment that the allegations are true (which might be a reasonable assumption given the settlement). If so, this makes the National Football League’s “bounty-gate” look like child’s play. In the NFL, grown men are paid millions of dollars to risk life and limb for the game we all enjoy. It’s true that they might not all be fully aware of the long-term sequelae which may result from injury, particularly head trauma. Yes, the football culture needs to change at every level, from athlete to fan to coach. And yes, coaches like the Saints’ Gregg Williams do portray deplorable behavior that needs to stop. But regardless of whose responsibility it is, or was, to provide injury awareness and enlightenment, in the end, it is adults making adult decisions about their lives.

April 18, 2012

Lions’ Raiola has no plans to join concussion lawsuits

After 11 seasons in the NFL, Raiola maintains that physical suffering is expected — in his words, “common knowledge” — among those who play the game. “It’s worth it. It’s totally worth it,” Raiola told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. “This is the best job in the world. I’d never trade it for anything, so I don’t know if I could justify suing the league when I’m done, because it’s given me up to this point, 11 years. Even though we’ve lost for 10, it’s given me 11 years of fun. I have fun every time I step on the field, and I think that’s what it’s all about.

April 17, 2012

Breaking Down the NFL Head Injury Litigation Situation

The lawsuits keep coming in as former players sue the National Football League over concussions and head injuries. I thought it would be a good idea to put up a post outlining a primer about what is occurring, as it seems like reporting on the subject is scattershot. My goal with this is to provide an overview without getting too technical and turning it into a legal article. These cases all arise from former players suing the NFL for negligence, fraud, conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent concealment, and negligent misrepresentation. The current tally is more than 1,200 plaintiffs and over 50 cases. The website has updates and summaries of the various lawsuits, as well as links to many of the pleadings if you are interested.

April 16, 2012

Klis: NFL suited to be hit by players in court

The NFL determined that the Saints participated in a long-running bounty program at a time when McMahon, Karras and Gradishar were among the approximately 1,240 former players — enough to fill the game-day rosters of 27 teams — who filed a combined 57 concussion lawsuits against the NFL. Still wondering why, in the midst of the 2010 season, the NFL cracked down against hits against defenseless players? Think it’s any coincidence commissioner Roger Goodell denied all Saints appeals last week at a time when such former players as Karras, Golden Richards, Mark Rypien, Jamal Lewis and McMahon are leading concussion lawsuits against the league while the estates of the late Dave Duerson and Curtis Whitley are claiming wrongful deaths at the NFL’s hands? Read more: Klis: NFL suited to be hit by players in court – The Denver Post

April 15, 2012

Like Mongo, players pawn in bigger game

He’s 76 now, and suffering from dementia. His wife said this week that a man who used to love to drive his cars can no longer get behind the wheel. She said a man who used to be an amazing cook of Italian and Greek food doesn’t cook anymore because he can’t remember what his recipes were. He’s among 1,200 former players now suing the NFL, claiming the league misled players about the risks of head injuries and was negligent about their treatment. Many of them are suffering from brain damage, and none of them are getting any better. Read more here:

April 13, 2012

Riddell Sues Insurers For Failing To Pay Concussion Damages

The brand references that seven lawsuits brought on by former players, part of only a group of more than 1,000 players who have been part of concussion suits, sought damages from Riddell. The company alleges that three of nine insurers, Lumbermens, American Home and Columbia Policies are failing to defend Riddell against the claims, either refusing to acknowledge coverage or saying that the liability doesn’t fall within its coverage terms.

April 11, 2012

More than 100 more former players join concussion suit

Today, Hausfeld LLP announced that its existing 100-plus-player lawsuit has added another 100-plus players, pushing the total to 216. (Hundreds of other players have also filed suit.)…. The amended complaint includes among it total plaintiffs the following players: Lem Barney, John Banaszak, Steve Bartkowski, John Cappelletti, Joe DeLamielleure, Conrad Dobler, Ken Easley, Joe Ferguson, Mel Gray, Randy Gradishar, Cliff Harris, Paul Krause, Bruce Laird, Rod Martin, Mike Merriweather, Tommy Nobis, Fred Smerlas, Phil Villapiao.

Ben Te’o’s case could be watershed moment for NRL, John Orchard warns foul play could spark litigation

The shoulder charge will come under more scrutiny when Brisbane backrower Ben Te’o appears at the NRL judiciary to defend himself against a dangerous contact charge for flattening Wests Tigers prop Matt Groat on Friday night. Te’o faces a four-match suspension if unsuccessful while Groat is recovering from concussion and has not been named in the Tigers side to play Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on Sunday.

April 10, 2012

Turley lets it rip, with the NFL as top target

“When it comes to disabilities, there is no other corporation in America that could ever get away with treating their employees the way the NFL has gotten away with,” Turley said Saturday. “That’s what needs to change.” … “When I had this serious injury situation, I was at the top. I then saw how quickly I was discarded at the bottom,” Turley said. “I thought, ‘Wow, if the NFL can do that to me, then what about other guys?’ “The worst he’s seen are ex-players who have families and kids and are homeless and living in cars. The fulcrum of Turley’s fight is the NFL Players Association clause that stipulates a player must become “vested” to be entitled to retirement benefits. “The average NFL career length is 3½ years,” he said. “To become a vested player, you need to play four years. Why is that?”

April 9, 2012

Fran Tarkenton outraged to learn of ‘bounty’ practices

“We didn’t play with bounties,” Tarkenton, 72, told WMVP-AM in Chicago (via “Dick Butkus didn’t have bounties on anybody, or there wouldn’t have been anybody to play because he would’ve killed them all.” … “Now I hear these ex-jocks, modern ex-jocks, back then, ‘Ah, this is the way it is in football, this is just the way things are,’ and now I’m hearing some of the same stuff from the ESPN jocks doing that,” he said. “The American people should be outraged. This is not the way it is. That’s not what the foundation of football was about.”

April 8, 2012

Concussions become a bigger factor in draft planning

That information is out there,” Newsome said, via the Baltimore Sun. “As far as what we do, and most teams do, is once we get guys here, we’ll get a baseline test done with those players, so that if a concussion occurs, then we have something that we can refer back to. But, it is something now that throughout the league — and in all professional sports and on the collegiate level — that everybody is spending more time looking at.” Teams have no choice but to consider this information, because a history of concussions suggests a future of more concussions, and the unavailability of the player that has future concussions.

April 7, 2012

Experts say Gregg Williams could face criminal charges

A case like this would be tough to prove because normal rules of society don’t apply. The rules of football do, and those are murky. Some of Williams’ exhortations to his team can be seen as metaphorical. Some can be taken literally. Separating the two is difficult; convincing a jury which is which could be impossible. And there’s no question a player puts himself in danger of injury whether it’s intentionally inflicted or not. “It’s the understanding that this is a privileged activity in society and all participants agree to some range of physical danger,” Haagen says.

April 6, 2012

Gregg Williams Audio Tape Adds Fuel to Concussion Lawsuits

In another area of the speech, Williams went on to say, “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.” But it doesn’t end there. He continues by saying, “We’re gonna swarm. We’re gonna dominate the line of scrimmage. And we’re gonna kill the {expletive} head. Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head…continue to touch and affect the head.”

April 4, 2012

It’s About Protecting the Head and Heart on the Field

Head injuries are devastating. John Mackey, a top tight end for the Colts and the first president of the NFL Players Association after the NFL-AFL merger, suffered from frontal temporal dementia, and spent the conclusion of his life in an assisted living facility. Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon suffers from short-term memory loss and believes that his problems are related to head injuries he sustained during his career. The NFL is currently facing multimillion dollar lawsuits filed by players who claim head trauma caused long-term damage.

April 3, 2012

Check out Stone Phillips report on children playing tackle football and the impact it has on their brains: “Hard Hits, Hard Numbers: The First Study of Head Impacts in Youth Football.”

April 2, 2012

Football turns to helmet technology to tackle head injuries

U.S. football fans have witnessed devastating instances of concussion-related brain damage and even death in players as young as high-school age. Th ey include 16-year-old Ridge Barden, 16, who collapsed after a hit in a game in Phoenix, New York last October and later died at a hospital. Such grim examples have spawned the first major efforts to redesign the football helmet since the 1950s, along with new rules for playing the game. The largest U.S. helmet manufacturers, as well as independent designers, are testing novel ways to cushion big and small blows to the head, or to provide immediate relief in the minutes after a major injury.

April 1, 2012

Gophers exercise caution with concussions

All three are examples of just how scary and long-lasting concussions can be. While more is known today about concussions than ever before, playing with a brain injury remains a real danger. “Eighty percent of all concussions are going to resolve themselves within seven, 10, 14 days in this population,” said Gophers athletic trainer Chris Asthon. “The most important thing is we keep an eye on them. We make sure we don’t let them do any type of physical activity until they’re completely asymptomatic. “Ashton said athletes who suffer concussions are told to limit certain activities that could trigger symptoms. That includes things such as using a computer, texting on a cell phone or even facing the stress of a classroom in some cases.

NFL faces another concussion lawsuit

Former Penn State running back Curt Warner joined about 70 other former NFL players in filing a lawsuit against the league Friday, claiming it didn’t do enough to inform players about the dangers of head injuries or protect them from concussions in the past and isn’t doing enough to take care of them today. Warner, who ran for more than 6,000 yards after being taken by the Seattle Seahawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1983 draft, is among several hundred former players suing the league in federal court in Philadelphia. Lawyers involved say that number soon could reach more than 1,000. What began last summer as a couple of cases with a handful of plaintiffs is growing week by week: Attorney Craig Mitnick, who has submitted several suits against the NFL, said he has been retained by other former players who have authorized him to put their names on future filings.

March 31, 2012

Law student is the go-to guy on NFL injury litigation

In my article in Friday’s print edition about two Philadelphia law firms that are representing the majority of the former players suing the National Football League over head injuries, you were introduced to a rather industrious law student….Anderson’s site has become an unequaled repository on the topic, as he posts the full court documents, exhibits, lists all of the plaintiffs, related news on concussions and offers his insights about the cases. His most recent post explains the difference between single plaintiff, mass torts and class-action lawsuits and why the plaintiffs attorneys in the NFL concussion suits filed a mixture of them.

March 30, 2012

Mark Rypien, the NFL concussion lawsuits and missing the point

As I’ve written about beforemore than once, actually — the brain trauma lawsuits are akin to both the Hot Coffee case and the tobacco settlements in one crucial regard: they are not, at the core, about a lack of personal responsibility. They’re about a dangerous lack of institutional responsibility, about powerful people and corporations — who are people, too, my friend! — dissembling and being negligent and failing to act when they really ought to have known better. They’re about morality, a disturbing lack thereof, and the resulting hazard. They’re about the same thing the financial crisis was about, risk-taking motivated by greed.


March 27, 2012

Mark Rypien is lead plaintiff in lawsuit against NFL over head injuries

Former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien has sued the NFL over “repeated traumatic injuries to his head” sustained during his 11-season career. Rypien is the lead plaintiff in a mass tort filed March 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. One hundred twenty-six former players are part of the suit, including 14 other ex-Redskins,Tony Mandarich and Todd Marinovich. The suit alleges the NFL was aware of the risks of repetitive traumatic brain injury but hid the information and misled players, resulting in permanent brain damage of neurological disorders. According to the suit, Rypien “suffers from various neurological conditions and symptoms related to the multiple head traumas.”… This the latest in a string of lawsuits targeting the NFL over head injuries. One site tracking the legal maneuvers,, estimates 51 lawsuits have been filed against the NFL. That includes five wrongful death lawsuits.

h/t to one of our readers, Don, that informed me about the several lawsuits going on at the High School level. Here’s an article from Irv Muchnick:

After Eveland Cripple Settlement in California, Dougherty Wrongful-Death Case in New Jersey Tackles High School Football and ImPACT

So let’s move the courtroom chains from disability to death, and let’s take the parameters beyond pedestrian ambiguities in medical advice and administrative oversight. The next frontier of football litigation involves specific issues surrounding the ImPACT “concussion management system.” Call it legal fig leafs and their discontents. One of the upcoming cases is that of Ryne Dougherty in New Jersey. In September 2008 Dougherty, a linebacker for Montclair High School, suffered concussions in back-to-back games, yet was cleared to return to play. The next month, another hit caused a fatal brain hemorrhage. He was 17. In 2009 the Dougherty family sued both their son’s personal physician and the Montclair school district in state Superior Court. That lawsuit is still in the pre-trial and discovery phases. Though the Dougherty story touches on ImPACT, it does not neatly fit what I believe may become a classic fact pattern of these cases: an athlete who is explicitly cleared through the use of a second ImPACT neurocognitive test, and goes on to suffer a disabling or fatal further injury.

March 26, 2012

Concussion-Sensing Chin Strap Raises Questions

A tool used to help detect head injuries in youth football is progressively making its way to the NFL – a helmet chin strap that instantly and obviously makes it clear when a player has taken blow so severe it may have caused a head injury. The Impact Indicator from Battle Sports Science uses single-axis accelerometers to determine the force, duration and direction of every hit a player takes. The force of each blow is measured using what’s called head injury criterion. Any blow with a better than 50 percent chance of causing a head injury activates a flashing red LED on the strap. The chin strap is one of several devices that use such technology to warn players, trainers and coaches to the possibility of a head injury. But there is precious little evidence to suggest these gadgets will do much to mitigate the problem.

March 24, 2012

Concussions make Lions great Lem Barney wish he never played

It’s a lethal game. Again, as I tell people, ‘Do you miss the game, Lem?’ And sincerely, I don’t miss the game.” In fact, Barney goes a step further. “If I look at the game now and I look back on it retrospectively, if I had another choice I’d never played the game, at all, in my life,” he said. “Never. Never. From all-city, all-state, all-conference, all-American, seven times All-Pro, I’m in eight Hall of Fames, it wouldn’t be. It would be golf or tennis. I’m serious. Very serious.” A standout cornerback in 1967-77 with the Lions, Barney said the term concussion wasn’t used during his playing days. “I related concussions to boxers,” he said. “I didn’t put one and two together. You get KO’d on the football (field) like getting KO’d in the damn ring, it’s a concussion.

March 23, 2012

Louisville players with multiple concussions wearing helmets to prevent more injuries

Louisville is taking a proactive approach to preventing multiple concussions: Mixed martial arts helmets. Looking to protect players who’ve had previous concussions, Cardinals trainer Fred Hina came up with the idea of having them wear the padded helmets in practice. Wearing a black lid that looks like a cross between a skateboard and motocross helmet may look a little odd, but if it helps keep the players on the floor, no one seems to mind. “We’re just trying to proactive and keep our multiples (concussions) down to a minimum, limit our risk,” Hina said Thursday before the Cardinals played Michigan State in the West Regional semifinals. “It may be overkill, but I really think you’re going to see it more and more with the focus being on head injuries.”

March 22, 2012

Bounty Punishments Likely Connected To Concussion Lawsuits

On Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed out some pretty tough punishments to those involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, including a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton and the loss of second-round draft picks for the next two years. If you want to know why Goodell had such a heavy hand, look no further than the amount of concussion lawsuits that are currently filed against the league by former players. Showing a no-tolerance policy like this is just legally smart as the NFL gets ready to defend these cases, which are growing by the minute. Below is a list of the astounding 49 lawsuits against the league on concussion-related claims along with the date they were filed compiled by sports litigation reporter Paul D. Anderson on his Website,

March 21, 2012

NFL hammers Saints for bounties

Saints coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight regular-season games, the team was fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks (one in 2012 and ’13) as a result of a bounty program conducted by the team during the 2009-11 seasons.

March 20, 2012

Studying the effects of multiple concussions

Once we had our model, we used it to determine whether the effects of concussions are cumulative, which means they get worse the more you have. Some athletes who sustain multiple concussions during their careers report problems later in life, like poor memory, slow reaction time, slowed thinking and difficulty learning. But despite these issues, the athletes’ brain scans often look normal, leading some people to question whether anything is truly wrong with them. Some people even accuse them of “malingering” — trying to avoid work, collect disability payments or sue the NFL because of their condition. Others theorize that these athletes’ problems aren’t due to concussions, but from steroid use, alcohol abuse, depression or drugs.’s+Hospital+Boston’s+pediatric+health+blog)

March 19, 2012

Coach Faces Claims of Brain Injury Indifference

Zachary Alt says he stumbled off the field after being hit during a Nov. 9, 2007, varsity playoff game for Highlands High School in Natrona Heights, Pa.
 As Alt aimlessly walked the length of the sideline after the hit, it was clear that his bell was rung badly, according to the complaint.
 But head coach Sam Albert allegedly kept the disoriented player in the game, and issued a dangerous directive: go after the opposing linebacker.
 “Blow him up,” Albert said, “referring to the type of violence with which he wanted plaintiff Alt to strike the opposition’s middle linebacker,” according to the suit.

March 18, 2012

“He Had A Concussion, But It Cleared By Halftime.”

ESPN’s Outside the Lines interviews Jim McMahon. McMahon was one of the first plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuits. He is represented by Larry Coben of Anapol Schwartz. Here’s the video:

March 16, 2012

Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby is clearly back on his game against NY Rangers at Garden

His cobwebs, too, are clearing. Having survived the first test Thursday night, Crosby moves gingerly into spring. Ambushes await. The NHL, we know, can eat its young for breakfast. The sport is swift and gorgeous, but the fighting and the hits to the head have exacted a stiff toll. We’ve seen that with the likes of Eric Lindros, who suffered eight concussions and slowly faded to gray. Now we’re getting a similar, sick feeling about Crosby, who is only 24 and should be entering his most productive decade. Crosby had been out for 40 games since December with the lingering effects of a concussion he first suffered back in January of 2011.Read more:

March 15, 2012


Later that day, however, according to the testimony of a courageous student trainer, Mission Hills High School football coach Chris Hauser ordered a senior linebacker, Scotty Eveland, to start a game even though the coach knew that Eveland had told trainer Scott Gommel that he had a headache so intense he could barely see. Another student trainer said Gommel had corroborated that account. After entering the game, Eveland collapsed, suffering from a traumatic brain injury that left him permanently unable to care for himself. All the key adults involved claimed Eveland never told anyone he was hurting. But last week, the San Marcos Unified School District settled the lawsuit filed by his family for $4.375 million.

March 14, 2012

Suits show products liability implications

Yet, despite this pleading hurdle, and despite the fact that the claims against the league have garnered more media attention, precedent suggests that the Riddell claims may actually provide the plaintiffs with a favorable chance of recovery. Riddell has been unsuccessful in defending against similar claims in the past. In Rodriguez v. Riddell Sports, Inc., the company was sued after a high school football player was left in a vegetative state from injuries suffered while making a seemingly routine tackle. 242 F.3d 567 (5th Cir. 2001). The claim was based upon the defective nature of the foam used in the helmet liner. A jury held the manufacturer and helmet refurbisher strictly liable and, while the case was remanded as to the manufacturer’s liability (it was no longer liable once the helmet was refurbished), the case serves as an indicator that a football helmet may be deemed unreasonably dangerous if not properly designed and manufactured. Id. at 581. Riddell may not have been obligated to design and manufacture the safest helmet possible, but if, as the plaintiffs allege, it knew that the product was unsafe or inadequate and other alternatives existed, it is certainly conceivable that it will be held liable.

March 12, 2012

Michael Traikos: NHL general managers need to focus on concussions

For the next few days, the NHL’s 30 general managers will sit down again in Boca Raton, Florida, to discuss the state of the game. Everything from the shootout to the red line will be examined. But if the meetings this year are anything like those last year or the year before, the head will dominate the discussion. Here are six topics that should get ample attention: • Curbing concussions: This has been a hot-button issue for the past two years. And while there does not appear to be the same level of anxiety this time around, it continues to be a problem. Slowing down the game might reduce the number of head injuries. But after the league cracked down on blindside hits and outlawed hits that target the head, expect the focus to turn to equipment.

March 11, 2012

Williams elevates nastiness

Fortunately, a few people did, and this week it resurfaced in Greg Easterbook’s column on The context was Williams talking about his own intensely aggressive approach to life in general, to football in particular, and to how that attitude informs everything he does right down to how he motivated his sons for youth football: “I told their little league coaches, ‘My kids will play fast; they’re going to play nasty; they’re going to play tough. Tell the rest of the babies around them to speed up.’ “So I’ve had Gregg Williams filed under “Lunatics” for a good two years. The NFL believes his loot-for-ligaments and cash-for-concussive-crash incentives have been thriving for at least three. But Williams also said, after that Saints’ Super Bowl victory, in some audio unearthed by NPR: “My whole life, I’ve been trying to get people to play nastier. Read more:

March 10, 2012


Football head injury results in $4.4 million settlement

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – A San Diego area school district has agreed to pay a $4.4 million settlement to a man who suffered a head injury playing high school football and now must communicate through a keyboard, attorneys said on Friday…The agreement comes as the problem of head injuries in football has gained prominence due to lawsuits brought against the National Football League by former players complaining of ongoing life struggles from concussions. He collapsed on the sidelines after playing the first half of a game on September 14, 2007, and was rushed to the hospital where doctors were able to save his life by removing part of his skull. But the heavy bleeding inside his brain caused him extensive damage. “We are very pleased we were able to get that settlement because it gives Scotty a safety net,” said his attorney David Casey Jr.–spt.html?

Perkins: Concussion risks in organized football may be too much for some parents

Given what you now know, and are learning every day, about concussions in sports and their long-lasting effects, how do you feel about your kids playing organized football? It’s all about optics with the NFL, which widely markets enormous spine-bending hits and still needs to be dragged, lawsuit by lawsuit, into the 21th century when it comes to players’ head injuries and their long-term devastation. This also is the league, remember, that professes concerns about its employees’ health, but scrubs their health insurance the moment it locks them out for cutting into the owners’ God-given profits….Look downward from the NFL. Read the heartbreaking stories of the paralyzed kids in wheelchairs. Understand that insurance rates for college and high school football are turning astronomical because of the injuries. Neck injuries have become so widespread that lawsuits have chased all but a couple of helmet makers out of business.–perkins-concussion-risks-in-organized-football-may-be-too-much-for-some-parents

March 8, 2012

NFL facing more concussion lawsuits

The Houston attorney for former Cowboys lineman Michael Myers, the latest of more than 300 former players or their spouses to accuse the NFL of negligence concerning the long-term impact of concussions and head injuries, said he is evaluating the claims of more than 50 other ex-players and expects to file more lawsuits. The Myers case, filed in Houston federal district court by attorney Tony Buzbee, has been moved with similar cases to the court of U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia. Brody has experience with multi-district litigation and was assigned the first NFL concussion case last summer.

March 7, 2012

Former Saint talks about lawsuit against the NFL

Fourcade is now 51 years old and recalls years of suffering since leaving the game. “I still have headaches. I have been having them for years. Eyesight is a little rough at times and blurred vision and you know, forgetfulness.” The former quarterback is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NFL claiming failure to take effective action to protect players and/or failure to inform players of the true risks associated with concussions, brain injury, and brain trauma. “Were we given the proper equipment? Were we given the proper medical attention?” said Fourcade. “Smelling salts, how many fingers I got in front of my face, that’s all we did. That was how it was back in the day.”…. Concussions appear to be inevitable in this full contact sport. Fourcade says this lawsuit is aimed at helping former players and protecting the players on the field today. “Are we doing it for the money?” said Fourcade. “No. We are doing it for the integrity of the game and the health of players in the game.”

March 6, 2012

Former Boise State RB Matt Kaiserman lobbies for concussion guidelines

If you search for Kaiserman on YouTube, a video (made by a Utah fan) celebrates Utah defensive back Greg Bird, who lays out Kaiserman during a kickoff return in the 2010 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. The hit was so vicious that his helmet flew off and his facemask broke. Kaiserman was unconscious for several minutes. The hit ended his career and he still has splitting headaches. But it’s given him a better appreciation for the severity of head injuries and now he’s working as a lobbyist for the NFL’s effort to pass head-injury legislation in Idaho.

March 5, 2012

Pay-for-pain row could boost NFL concussion suits

“It would help us enormously,” said Tom Girardi, an attorney in Los Angeles representing hundreds of former NFL players in the concussion actions…. Larry Coben, a Philadelphia lawyer representing about 60 concussion plaintiffs, said his firm was considering whether to add claims related to the bounty scandal. “We’re looking at the issue to see if it warrants adding claims,” he said…. Adding claims that the players received concussions due to a tackle rewarded by the bounty system, which violate NFL rules, would bolster the players’ arguments that the collective bargaining agreement does not apply because of the misconduct…. The difficulty, however, will be in proving that a player’s concussion was the result of a rewarded hit, he said. “Causation will be a huge issue,” he said.

RPT-ANALYSIS-NFL-‘Bounty’ scandal could end up in U.S. courts

On the civil side of the law, one possibility is a class action, Callan said. Fans who had tickets to games involving bounty payments could assert they paid to watch games based solely on athletic ability, not on side bets for taking players out, Callan said. Damages likely would be limited to the price of the tickets, but considering the value of those tickets and the thousands of fans who attend, the damages could add up quickly, he said.,0,109239.story?page=1

March 4, 2012

Teams Could Be Held Liable for Injuries Traced to Bounties

According to two sports law scholars, the team, Williams and individual players could be held liable in court if an opponent can prove that a member of the Saints injured him on a play that is outside the norm for football and that the Saints player acted with reckless disregard for the opponent’s safety. “As a general rule, those who participate in sports assume the inherent risk of injury therein,” said Matt Mitten, the director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School. “You break your arm? Suffer concussion? Broken leg? But what most courts have held is you do not assume the risk of an intentional or recklessly caused injury. Contact is an inherent element of N.F.L. football; it’s not enough just to contact someone. “I would see something as a bounty, where you’re intending to injure someone so he’s knocked out of the game, or reckless, the deliberate disregard of a high probability of harm — those are the types of situations where the courts have said: ‘That’s not a risk that people assume. There is potential liability to those who suffer injury.’ ”

March 2, 2012

Obama Talks NFL Concussions, Dave Duerson With Bill Simmons On Grantland Podcast

The most notable exception to the prevailing happiness was when Obama spoke about former Bears safety Dave Duerson, who committed suicide in February 2011. “Hopefully lessons from his great struggle, with the kind of brain injuries those hits might have caused, will help today’s players down the road,” Obama noted somberly…. “I actually knew Dave Duerson, and used to see him at the gym sometimes,” Obama reflected while speaking with Simmons at the White House. “[He] couldn’t have been a nicer guy.” After identifying NFL concussions as one of the most troubling issues in sport, Obama named two complicating factors that make solutions difficult to achieve: the combination of size and speed possessed by today’s players as well as the willingness of those players to risk their health. “Now, the problem is, if you talk to NFL players, they’re going to tell you, ‘That that’s the risk I take; this is the game I play.’ And I don’t know whether you can make football, football if there’s not some pretty significant risk factors.”

March 1, 2012

Hartman: Koskie supports healing Morneau

Koskie said Morneau told the media the truth the other day when he said he might not be able to keep playing baseball if he continues to get concussions…. Koskie said his problems started when he “basically just went for a pop fly and fell backwards” while playing for the Brewers. “I tried to come back too early, and I kept trying to push myself through my symptoms and it got to the point where I wasn’t able to do anything,” he said. “That’s the risk. You keep trying to push yourself through the symptoms, whether it’s running … or just mental stuff like reading or writing and conversations.”

Feb. 29, 2012

Sports Concussion: Myths and Facts

A physical exam is required to assess patients for concussion signs and symptoms of concussion, which can appear immediately after the head injury or days later. Signs and symptoms include: appearing dazed or stunned; answering questions slowly; nausea and vomiting; sensitivity to light or noise; and an inability to recall events prior to the hit to the head…. Another common myth is that a person with a concussion should not fall asleep even though they may be drowsy. In fact, drowsiness is a common concussion symptom and getting rest is sometimes the best thing to do, Derman said.

Feb. 28, 2012

Study: Concussion recovery time prognoses possible

Amend — a cheerleader injured from a fall during a stunt drill Jan. 30 — is one of several youth athletes Collins said he has confidently provided a recovery-period prognosis over the past few weeks. His confidence stems from data provided by the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC joint study on concussion prognoses….This study, conducted from 2002-06, focused on 108 high school football players who took the computerized ImPACT test within two days of a concussion diagnosis. Of those players, 50 required a recovery period of 33 days (on average) before gaining clearance to play. Collins said those players showed similar physical symptoms in addition to low scores in two of the four ImPACT categories: visual/memory and processing speed.

Feb. 27, 2012

Utecht adjusting to life after football

“I was in the NFL for six years,” he said. “I think what I really felt is that I wasn’t given all the information about my concussions, and now, at 30 years old, I struggle at times with memory issues. It’s because of experiencing consequences like that that we had to take a really hard look at my career as an NFL player. My wife and I had to step back and really ask tough questions.” “As I went and got my second opinion and met with two neutral physicians throughout my grievance situation, I started gaining all this information that had been out there and started doing my own research and learning all these things that have been case studies for the last 15 years,” he said.

Feb. 26, 2012

Duerson wrong symbol for a safer NFL

“Duerson told me my long-term effects were from an act of God, not football, and now his family’s suing claiming something he fought against?” said Boyd, 54, a catalyst in linking concussions with CTE. “The Duersons are, in effect, suing their own husband and father for his corrupt practices as a voting member of the NFL disability board.” Brain damage slows Boyd’s speech. He sighed. “I have dedicated my life for six years to make sure retirees get benefits they deserve, and Dave Duerson was an obstacle to that goal,” Boyd continued. “I sincerely feel sorry for his family’s loss. But they need to realize the suffering he caused for other families too.”–20120225_1_dave-duerson-brain-damage-tregg-duerson

Feb. 24, 2012

Hockey hit leads to lawsuit

A former high school hockey player who was knocked unconscious during a playoff game two years ago is suing the school division, the coaches of the opposing team and the player who hit him. Braeden King, of Killarney, said he was playing for his high school team, the Killarney Raiders, when he was knocked unconscious by an what he calls an illegal hit from behind from Patrick Vandoorne, a player with the Boissevain Broncos. In a statement of claim filed recently in Queen’s Bench, King, now 19 and a university student, said the alleged illegal hit happened in the first period of the second game of a three-game playoff series in February, 2010.

Feb. 23, 2012

Concussions In Chicago Sports: Jonathan Toews And C.J. Watson Make Head Trauma Relevant

It’s a topic that unfortunately became relevant in Chicago sports a day ago. It was reported that an “upper body injury” to Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews was actually a concussion Toews may or may not have been trying to hide from his bosses….Bulls guard C.J. Watson also missed his second straight game on Wednesday vs. the Milwaukee Bucks with a mild concussion after colliding with New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries on Saturday. The injury was first reported as a migraine. Watson said he wanted to play against the Atlanta Hawks during a Monday matinee at the United Center, but league officials wouldn’t stand for it. Both examples only reinforce the “brawn over brains” mentality that remains prevalent in sports. The contemporary athlete has been wired this way for decades; they need to be saved from themselves. The line between backyard toughness and permanent psychological damage is a fine one, and it doesn’t take long to find cautionary tales.

Feb. 22, 2012

Former Packer Tauscher Backing Concussion Bill

Longtime Green Bay Packer offensive lineman Mark Tauscher is throwing his support behind a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature designed to reduce youth concussions. Medical professionals, a lobbyist for the National Football League and the bill sponsors also planned to attend a Wednesday news conference along with Tauscher. The bill has passed the Assembly but stalled in the Senate. The measure would require that young athletes who suffer what appears to be a concussion or head injury would have to be immediately removed from the activity and not be allowed to return until examined by a health care provider and given written clearance.

Feb. 21, 2012

Lawyer Solicits Football Players To Join Concussion Class Action

On Friday, I received a forwarded email that was originally sent to a group of football players by a lawyer named Billy Conaty, who works for a multi-state law firm named Montgomery McCracken. Conaty introduced himself as a former NFL player, briefly described the pending concussion-based lawsuits pending against the NFL, and offered his phone and email in case the players desired more information. The email is embedded, below. Upon receiving the email, I wondered aloud (on Twitter) as to whether the email, which appeared to clearly be a form of solicitation, was permissible. I was thinking back to my Professional Responsibility class and the endless number of Rules of Professional Conduct that were stamped into my brain. Specifically, the following Rule came to mind. Read more:

Feb. 20, 2012

Former NFL Players Sue League Over Concussions

Nearly a dozen former NFL players living in Louisiana have sued the NFL, the latest players to accuse the league of failing to protect players from the risks associated with concussions. Several former New Orleans Saints players, including John Fourcade, are among the 11 ex-players named as plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in New Orleans. The lawsuit says each of them has developed mental or physical problems from concussions or concussion-like symptoms.

Feb. 19, 2012

Troy Aikman thinks concussions may ruin football’s status as No. 1 sport

“I think we’re going to look back at this point in time and say these were the missteps that the National Football League took that kept football from being the No. 1 sport,” he said. “I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the No. 1 sport. You talk about the ebbs and flows of what’s popular and what’s not. At some point, the TV ratings are not going to be there.”

Student concussions from high school sports top 850

Missouri students reported more than 850 suspected concussions during the 2011 fall semester. The Missouri State High School Activities Association took a mandatory survey to document suspected brain injuries suffered by its athletes in sports. Football players reported the highest number with 653 suspected concussions, male soccer players came in second.

Feb. 17, 2012

Teens’ concussion risk not limited to football

Although football has been in the spotlight when it comes to high school athletes’ concussions, other sports carry a risk as well, a new study shows. Between 2008 and 2010, researchers found, U.S. high school athletes suffered concussions at a rate of 2.5 for every 10,000 times they hit the playing field, for practice or competition. Nearly half — 47 percent — happened in football. But girls’ soccer and basketball, and boys’ wrestling, ice hockey and lacrosse were among the other sports with a risk of head injury.

Feb. 16, 2012

Increase in touchbacks led to decrease in concussions on kickoffs

The great increase in touchbacks last season contributed to reduced concussions, and that was the plan. “We just got the data recently,” said Batjer, the co-chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee and department chair of neurological surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “It looks to me like a decreased number of runbacks played a role. It did not affect a lot of the other injuries paradoxically.” Batjer and his committee remain committed to increasing safety in the NFL while also educating those at all levels of athletics on head injuries. Assistant Bears trainer Chris Hanks put the primary message best: “When in doubt, sit them out.”–20120216_1_concussion-care-elizabeth-pieroth-head-injuries

Feb. 15, 2012

Retired NFL players still seeking better benefits

“I’m going to fight ’em to the end,” said Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure, one of 47 ex-players who signed on as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in federal court against the NFL Players Association. They’ve alleged the current players illegally overreached by determining the retiree share of the $10-billion-a-year business without them. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson will hear oral arguments Wednesday in St. Paul, Minn., from both sides. The union has motioned to have the case dismissed. Spokesman Carl Francis said the NFLPA won’t comment on the lawsuit. The union’s response to the complaint was filed under seal.

Feb. 13, 2012

Vet’s Family Sues NFL for Wrongful Death

The family of linebacker Wally Hilgenberg claims in Federal Court that the 16-year NFL veteran died from degenerative brain injuries stemming from repeated concussions.
 Eric Hilgenberg, the linebacker’s son, sued the National Football League for wrongful death, on behalf of his father’s estate, on his own behalf, and for his mother, Mary. Wally Hilgenberg, who played in four Super Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings and also played for the Detroit Lions, died in 2008. The Hilgenbergs’ wrongful death complaint is the latest in a string of lawsuits that claim the NFL distorted and buried its own research and ignored repeated warnings that head injuries can lead to delayed neurological disorders and death.

Feb. 12, 2012

Concussion lawsuits put spotlight on NFL policies

“They relied on the league, trusted the league to know when it was healthy for them to play, and the league failed them miserably,” said Craig Mitnick, a Haddonfield attorney who is part of a team representing Schad and other former Eagles, including linebackers Seth Joyner and Jeremiah Trotter, whose suit was filed Friday. The NFL will strongly contest the claims by these players and many others who have sued in recent months. “The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so,” said a statement from the league. “Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit.”

Feb.10, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers and Irving must wait until concussion symptoms abate

Irving probably will miss his second consecutive game tonight, against Milwaukee, because of a concussion. The head injury was sustained in Tuesday’s loss in Miami and diagnosed before Wednesday’s home win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Now, comes the difficult part for Irving, the Cavaliers and their fans — the waiting. The point guard must be symptom- free to resume practicing and will need to be cleared through a new return-to-play protocol established by the NBA in December.

Feb. 8, 2012

Shared responsibility for reducing concussions

“You have to put a little onus on the players and how they’re getting hit too,” Chase said before attending the 52nd annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner in Saskatoon.” That’s one of the things I think has to be addressed. “The responsibility used to be on the guy carrying the puck, but the responsibility now is largely on the guy that’s hitting. I don’t think it’s going to change – it’s just going to get worse – if guys, at some point, don’t start taking responsibility for the way they come through the middle of the ice and the way they turn into the boards.”

Feb. 7, 2012

After Concussion, Over-Reliance On Computer Tests In Return-To-Plan Decisions Questioned

“Our knowledge of the effects of concussions continues to evolve,” said Thomas Redick, assistant professor of psychology at IUPUC. “We should continue to ask ourselves what the best practices are when dealing with a brain injury, which is what a concussion is.” The use of computer tests to measure an athlete’s thinking ability before and after concussion has become commonplace at all levels of contact sport, typically beginning in high school, and the post-trauma test result is one part in determining when an athlete can get back in the game. The dangers of returning to play prematurely can be grave – including the rare cases that lead to a degeneration of brain tissue (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and even death. Yet the ability to determine the severity of a head trauma and stage of recovery is very difficult.

Feb. 6, 2012

Player safety in 2012: Progress but still work to do

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says safety is safety. “We’re going to continue to push to make this game safe,” he says. “It’s good for the players. It’s good for the game.”… The NFL’s current policy: If a player is diagnosed with a concussion during a game, he is out for at least that game. The NFL says he can’t practice or play until he passes neurological tests and gets the OK from team doctors and an independent neurological consultant. The NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee published a study in 2004 that said that a player diagnosed with a concussion could return to that game without a “significant risk of a second injury” as long as he became symptom-free. In 2004, the committee found in a study that “there was no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulate effects of multiple (concussions) in NFL players.”

Feb. 5, 2012

Head-trauma Lawsuits Against NFL Swell

A little over a decade later, the former Eagle is battling the debilitating effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He said his doctors have told him that “there’s no cure, you’re going to die within two to 10 years, and get your affairs in order.”….Turner is one of hundreds of former NFL players and their families currently suing the league for alleged negligence, claiming that it didn’t do enough to mitigate the risks despite what many say is an inherently dangerous sport. His attorney, Stephen F. Rosenthal — whose Miami-based firm represents 137 other players and their families who’ve filed a class-action suit against the league — said Turner has likely suffered from undiagnosed concussions. He accused the league of deliberately withholding information deemed critical to player safety.

Feb. 4, 2012

More join concussion lawsuit against NFL

The Miami-based negligence lawsuit against the NFL added more than three dozen former players as plaintiffs Friday, with former Miami Hurricane running back Najeh Davenport the most recognizable face in a collection of otherwise obscure retired jocks. The suit is one of at least 20 legal actions the NFL faces nationwide. They all allege that the nation’s most successful sports league for decades ignored evidence that repeated head injuries suffered while playing football leads to serious health issues later in life, including memory loss, migraine headaches and depression. Read more here:

Feb. 3, 2012

Football findings suggest concussions caused by series of hits

“The most important implication of the new findings is the suggestion that a concussion is not just the result of a single blow, but it’s really the totality of blows that took place over the season,” said Eric Nauman, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and an expert in central nervous system and musculoskeletal trauma. “The one hit that brought on the concussion is arguably the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Jerry Jones says he has had “50 concussions”

Jones, who played college football at Arkansas, said that he has had “50 concussions.” He then joked that, if he hadn’t suffered so many blows to the head, he would have been the President of the U.S. instead of the owner of the Cowboys.

YouTube Video with Dorsett:

Feb. 2, 2012

Battling with memory loss, Dorsett joins concussion lawsuit against NFL

“I don’t want to get to the point where it turns into dementia, Alzheimer’s. I don’t want that,” says Dorsett, who ran for 12,739 yards, the eighth-highest total in league history. He is, in that moment, sad and deflated — in others, pumped up and angry, fists flying to punctuate his words. “There’s no doubt in my mind that … what I went through as a football player is taking an effect on me today. There’s no ifs ands or buts about that. I’m just hoping and praying I can find a way to cut it off at the pass.”

Feb. 1, 2012

Going head to head in battle with concussion

The NFL will air an ad during the Super Bowl on the controversial subject of player safety…. “I’m troubled by it to the extent that it seeks to portray a position of concern when they really had none,” Hausfeld said in a telephone interview. “They shouldn’t be focused on placing ads. They should be focused on talking to those players who have suffered the concussions and the consequences. And saying ‘What is it we can do?’ “To a lot of people, the ad will resonate that they’re trying. On the other hand, there’s a little bit too much protesting. You’re trying to put yourself in too good of a light – why? You’re trying to deflect your exposure.”

Jan. 30, 2012

The Sports Kings:Former NFL RB Jamal Lewis On Concussions…

On the heels of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s “Big Hits, Broken Dreams” special on concussions in high school athletes Sunday night on CNN and with more than 300 former NFL players filing lawsuits versus the NFL over concussion safety and recurring issues associated with concussions in multiple states the Sports Kings reached out to retired Super Bowl Champion RB Jamal Lewis to discuss concussion safety, symptoms, and the long-term effects of concussions.

Jan. 29, 2012

League responds to issue of concussion grievances

“A player that is medically prohibited from playing as a result of a concussion qualifies for his salary and injury protection benefit as specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello recently told PFT by email. “In addition, we have made significant improvements in the new CBA to address cognitive health, including the use of independent neuropsychologists to determine whether a player should be medically cleared to return to play, a new neurological care benefit, expanded disability benefits, an expanded neurological care program for former players, the opportunity for players to have lifetime medical care through our current health care program, and an increase in the 88 Plan benefit.”

Jan. 28, 2012

CNN re-examines death at Rose High

The steps Rose has taken to prevent a similar tragedy are part of a CNN documentary, “Big Hits, Broken Dreams,” that will be telecast nationally Sunday at 8 p.m. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent and a neurosurgeon, followed Rose throughout its 2011 season.

Jan. 27, 2012

Former players help raise awareness

“Concussions are an incredibly neglected problem,” said Chris Nowinski, coalition chairman and co-founder and CEO of the Sports Legacy Institute. “They’ve ruined a lot of lives. The list in Chicago is quite striking of athletes who have been diagnosed with degenerative brain diseases from too much head trauma that hadn’t been taken care of.”

Jan. 26, 2012

US panel mulls whether to merge NFL player concussion lawsuits against the football league

MIAMI — A federal judicial panel in Miami is considering whether to consolidate lawsuits filed around the country by more than 300 former NFL players seeking damages for concussions they suffered. The NFL has asked that the lawsuits be merged before a judge in Philadelphia. They have been filed in Florida, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and elsewhere. Plaintiffs include former stars Ottis Anderson, Mark Duper, Tony Dorsett, Jim McMahon, Lem Barney and others.

Jan. 25, 2012

Kyle Williams Concussions: Giants Targeted 49ers Player Due To Previous Head Injuries

“The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him outta the game,” said Jacquian Williams, who forced the second fumble, in overtime, to set up New York’s game-winning field goal. “He’s had a lot of concussions,” said Devin Thomas, who recovered both fumbles. “We were just like, `We gotta put a hit on that guy.'”

Jan. 24, 2012

New insurance provides concussion testing for student-athletes

Wells Fargo’s Student Insurance Division, based in Rancho Cordova, has crafted a new insurance package that provides concussion testing and medical care for high school athletes. It’s a level of diagnosis and treatment that has historically not been available to high school football linemen, rugby halfbacks and soccer forwards – only to pros.”


Jan. 23, 2012

7-year-old applauds new concussion rules

“Snakenberg died in September 2004 after sustaining a serious concussion in a football game. Doctors believe it was his second concussion in a week and he died of Second Impact Syndrome. Just before the game, he told everyone he was fine. That’s why there is now a law in place called the Jake Snakenberg Act. It requires all coaches, like Pigati, to undergo concussion training to look for signs of possible brain injury. 
Dylan and Alex Hearn applaud the new measures.”

Jan. 22, 2012

A Year Later, Concussions Keep Savard Off the Ice

“The way I’m feeling, the day-to-day issues I’m having, it’s tough to see a bright future right now,” Savard said before Saturday’s Bruins-Rangers game. He was speaking to reporters at length for the first time since February.“I still have my tough days,” Savard said, 363 days after a hit by Colorado’s Matt Hunwick sidelined him with his second major concussion. Savard said he would wait until after the end of the season to assess whether to try to return to active play.

Jan. 21, 2012

NFL player Michael Current kills self as Duerson: concussion suicide remembered

Former NFL player Michael Current – an offensive lineman who played 13 seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins – was facing charges of “sexually assaulting three minors from 2004 to 2010.” The Salem newspaper, the Statesman Journal, stated that Current’s body was found Jan. 16 at the Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge viewing area. “Polk County sheriff’s officials said he had apparently fatally shot himself with a shotgun.”

Jan. 20, 2012

Goalies face unique obstacles in concussion recovery

“My issue every time has been, it affects your focus and concentration,” Miller said. “You feel like you have ADD. You feel like you have extreme ADD when you have the headaches and you have the uncomfortable ‘off’ feeling. I mean, I think history can kind of show I’m a very intense, focused person, and when I can’t even get through a 10-, 15-minute task at home, which I can usually sit down and do, something’s wrong.”

From CNN: Drs. Drew and Gupta Discuss Concussions in Youth Football

Jan. 19, 2012

Ex-players accuse NFL of fraud over concussions

“NFL officials conspired to hide evidence linking concussions to dementia and brain disease, seven retired players charge in the latest lawsuit filed on the subject.”…. “The league rejects allegations that it failed to protect its players. ’The NFL 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,’ spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday in a statement. ‘The NFL has never misled players with respect to the risks associated with playing football.’”

School sports must adapt to growing brain-injury concerns

There is reason to fear brain injuries from head traumas that don’t result in concussions. That’s the logical conclusion from the latest evidence, admittedly incomplete, from the Boston University researchers who’ve done landmark work into sports-related brain injuries.”
































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