As we have discussed in the past, head injuries are a significant health problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation, and a legal case against the NFL is highlighting that concern. A former NFL Washington Redskins quarterback has become the primary litigant the personal injury case against the NFL.
The mass-tort lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania and includes 126 former NFL players, including 15 Washington Redskins alums. Included are well-known athletes such as Tony Mandarich and Todd Marinovich. The suit alleges that the NFL knew all about the traumatic brain injury risks, but deceived players, which resulted in neurological disorders.
Lawyers for the players say that the extended exposure to head impact caused a significant range of injuries among the athletes. They say that the players were made aware of the risk of tissue injuries, broken bones and other physical problems, but not of traumatic brain injuries.
Consecutive concussions can cause long-term damage that doesn’t become evident until far later in life, and those problems are currently showing up in older players, according to the lawsuit.
Some experts have said that the recent harsh penalties enacted against the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program are in response to the lawsuit against the league. Other sports have been plagued with head injury-related allegations, as well, including the National Hockey League. During the past two seasons, more hockey players have reported head injuries than ever before.
Advocates for players say that it has taken entirely too long for the leagues to acknowledge the risk of head injuries. They say that they hope the suit will lead to increased medical care for the players, as well as improved safety precautions for the next generation of athletes throughout the nation.
Source: Washington Times, “Mark Rypien is lead plaintiff in lawsuit against NFL over head injuries,” Nathan Fenno, March 27, 2012