In June of 2012, more than 80 National Football League (NFL) lawsuits involving more than 2,000 players were consolidated as a “master complaint,” and filed in a federal court in Philadelphia, PA.
The complaint against the National Football League alleges that the NFL knew of the risks of head injuries (Traumatic Brain Injuries – TBIs) for decades but hid or ignored evidence that linked such injuries to permanent brain damage. In addition, the suit alleges that the league is guilty of common-law fraud and negligence as it “was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries virtually at its inception, but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information from the Plaintiffs and all others who participated in organized football at all levels”.
The lawsuit is requesting that the NFL be held responsible for the care of players suffering from neurological disorders, including dementia. One recent plaintiff to join the nationwide head injury lawsuit is Derrick Walker, a former player for the San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. He is seeking at least $500,000 in damages over head injuries he suffered during NFL games. Another plaintiff, ex-Lions quarterback Eric Hipple, claims he suffered multiple concussions and brain injuries in many games, but he was told to keep playing, “even though he was clearly medically ineligible,” according to his lawsuit.
Both Hipple and Walker suffer from multiple past traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, with symptoms including memory loss, nausea, vertigo, headaches, depression and sleeplessness. In 1994, the NFL created the “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee” with the intention of researching the effects of concussion. The committee would advise the NFL on measures to prevent and manage such brain injuries, according to Paul D. Anderson of www.nflconcussionlitigation.com. Instead, this master complaint against the NFL alleges that it kept a “campaign of disinformation” intended to subjugate research linking successive concussions with later-life cognitive decline.
The complaint also accuses the NFL of creating “a falsified body of research which the NFL could cite as proof that truthful and accepted neuroscience on the subject was inconclusive and subject to doubt,” according to the Canadian Medical Association.
Increasingly, former football players are coming forward with brain injury complaints against the NFL. Sadly, some retired players, such as David Duerson, have committed suicide by shooting themselves in the chest. The placement of the gunshot was apparently intentional his case in order preserving his brain for future study. An autopsy revealed that Duerson’s brain had same trauma-induced disease linked to other deceased players.
The NFL has filed their own lawsuits against insurers, which says it has incurred $5 million in attorneys’ fees and other costs to defend against the lawsuits. However, that won’t soften the blows inflicted upon the players.
It is clear from the research that the term mild traumatic brain injury is a misnomer. MTBI are not only suffered by football players but are common place in any injury related traffic accident. The serious nature of this injury is seemingly down played by the name given not for the seriousness of the injury but only for the length of time unconscious. The trauma induced brain injury (TBI) often results in long term life-long problems. The symptoms of the injury may be reduced with proper care and treatment quickly after the injury. Therefore, access to and treatment by appropriate healthcare providers is critical. Experts recommend seeking treatment as soon as possible after an injury and avoiding activities that can cause repeat injuries.
The Griggs Injury Law firm can help if you have suffered brain damage or a TBI. Call our office at 816-474-0202 for immediate help.