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19Sep/12Off

The NFL Hid Brain Injuries From Players

Have you ever wondered why football players wear helmets? The reason is because football is a risky sport that could result in serious brain injuries.

Several former professional football players are suing the NFL. There are more than 3,000 former NFL players who are suing the league for allegedly ignoring evidence of the link between concussions sustained while playing football and long-term brain injuries.

Project logo for the National Football League ...

Project logo for the National Football League wikiproject. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A master complaint combining dozens of existing lawsuits accusing the NFL of failing to provide information linking football-related head trauma to irreparable memory loss, brain damage, and other debilitating long-term health issues was filed in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The lawsuit names more than 3,000 plaintiffs, according to a legal source with direct knowledge of the situation, with approximately 2,500 players among that total, and the remainder being made up chiefly of players’ wives filing for loss of spousal support.

There were 86 lawsuits filed by more than 2,300 players in the last year, according to a league source, and a judge in Philadelphia was assigned to come up with one complaint.

The master complaint is not a class-action lawsuit, but rather is a standard part of multi-district litigation. Multidistrict litigation allows for the consolidation of lawsuits that have common factual issues, and allows for more efficient handling of pretrial issues, such as discovery requests and pre-trial motions.

The multidistrict litigation allows for separate trials and settlements for the plaintiffs in the different lawsuits, while a class-action lawsuit binds all members of the class to the result of a single trial or settlement. This would allow ex-players suffering to get different rulings or settlements than those who are asymptomatic, and give leeway for the legal system to treat each group of plaintiffs separately.

The court’s schedule provides the league with the opportunity to raise issues with the master complaint by June 19 and set August 19 as the date for the league to file a motion to dismiss the case.

If you or a loved one were the victim of an accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

18Sep/12Off

Brain Injuries In The NFL

It happens on any given Sunday. Sometimes it happens on Monday or Thursday nights. Two teams of gridiron warriors take to the field and battle one another for glory and victory. It’s a dangerous sport, but someone has to do it.

Unfortunately, several former professional football players are suing the NFL. One of them is Mitch White, a former offensive tackle who was signed to the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but never actually played a regular season game. White is among the more than 3,000 former NFL players who are suing the league for allegedly ignoring evidence of the link between football-related concussions and long-term brain injury.

The 1893 Tulane University football team, the ...

The 1893 Tulane University football team, the first in school history (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neuroscientists have only begun to research and understand the impact of concussions — even seemingly “minor” ones — on the brain, and we will be seeing a string of new studies on this subject in the coming months and years. Just this month, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that professional football players are three times more likely to die from neurodegenerative brain disorders — including ALS — than the general U.S. population.

The sport had an earlier violence-related crisis. At the turn of the 20th century, football was almost banned as a result of the appalling number of deaths that were occurring on the field — 18 in 1905 alone. Changes to the game, especially the introduction of the forward pass and new safety equipment, saved the sport.

Similar actions to reform football are being discussed today, but many neuroscientists remain skeptical that they will make the game any safer for the brain. Football’s future really lies in the attitudes of families who must weigh the risks and benefits of letting their sons play the game. If families — and their sons — increasingly conclude that the risks are not worth it, football will become as irrelevant as boxing.

And brain injuries aren’t the only problem that football players face. They could also be victims of paralysis. Earlier this month, former Tulane football player Devon Walker sustained a spinal cord injury when he collided with a teammate in a game against Tulsa. He may be paralyzed for the rest of his life.

If you or a loved one were the victim of an accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

11Sep/12Off

Devon Walker Out Of Surgery

There is a strong possibility that Devon Walker may never walk again. Let’s hope that he doesn’t join the ranks of football players whose careers have been cut short because of paralysis. It happened to Darryl Stingley, who was a wide receiver for the New England Patriots and was paralyzed in a 1978 preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. More than 13 years later, Mike Utley, an offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions, was paralyzed during a game against the Minnesota Vikings. A year later, the same would happen to Dennis Byrd, a defensive tackle for the New York Jets. Byrd was paralyzed during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. More recently, Kevin Everett, a tight end for the Buffalo Bills, was paralyzed in a 2007 game against the Denver Broncos.

Tulane senior defensive back Devon Walker is responsive following surgery on his fractured cervical vertebrae, but it’s too early to draw any conclusions about his progress.

English: The New England Patriots' offense on ...

English: The New England Patriots’ offense on the field against the New York Jets in a 2006-07 NFL Wild Card Playoff game. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The odds were about 100,000 to 1 that he’d suffer a spinal cord injury in a college game. Walker just happened to be the unlucky one.

It was the same with Darryl Stingley, Mike Utley and Dennis Byrd and other players whose names remind us of things we’d rather forget. We just accept them as the cost of doing football business and hope they can turn tragedy into inspiration.

Walker underwent surgery Sunday to stabilize his spine. He has some feeling in his extremities. As the swelling subsides in the next few days, doctors will find out how severe the nerve damage is.

What happened is not a mystery. Walker was zeroing in on a Tulsa runner. He arrived at the target the same time as a teammate. Walker’s helmet slammed into the helmet of defensive tackle Julius Warmsley.

Walker’s body went limp. Trainers and doctors ran to him. The stadium hushed. Players knelt and prayed. “Help is on the way,” Coach Curtis Johnson whispered to Walker.

Back home, a horrified mother and father watched on TV and wondered how quickly they could get to their son. The drama has been performed so many times before.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, 295 high school, college, pro and sandlot football players suffered spinal cord injuries from 1977-2009.

Relatively speaking, guys like Utley and former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand were lucky. They were hurt in high-profile games and had financial backstops to deal with the millions of dollars in medical and rehabilitation bills.

After a few heartfelt fundraisers, there’s not much more people can do. The high schoolers often end up scraping by on Medicaid and maybe get a plaque outside their old stadium.

About the only good news is we’ve come a long way since three college players died from injuries in 1905. Leather helmets have given way to things like the Head Impact Telemetry System, where padded sensors record the hits a player’s skull absorbs.

It’s used primarily to track concussions, though a high school player broke his neck while wearing the system a couple of years ago. Sensors showed his helmet sustained a 114 g-force blow. That was more than 30 times as much force Space Shuttle astronauts endure on takeoff.

But while it’s not 1905 anymore, all the technique and equipment refinements will never change the basic physics of football. When heads in motion collide, bad things happen. Then that all-too-familiar scene plays out.

That’s the equation we all deal with. We love the game, so we accept its collateral damage and move on. That’s better than dwelling on the reality.

A kid who wanted to be a doctor lies in an intensive care unit. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever move again. It’s a hell of a price to pay for business as usual.

If a loved one was the victim of an accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.