For months, we have been writing about the personal injury lawsuits that have been filed against the NFL by former players. More than 3,500 former players allege that they developed traumatic brain injuries as a result of the repetitive concussions they suffered while playing football, and they blame the NFL for failing to protect them.
More than 100 of the cases were consolidated in a Philadelphia district court, where the NFL filed a motion in August to have the lawsuits dismissed. This week, attorneys for the players responded to the motion, arguing in a brief that the NFL “orchestrated a disinformation campaign” in effort to keep players on the field and hitting hard.
The brief said the NFL failed to address the long-term brain injuries suffered by the players, purposely kept information regarding the effects of brain injuries from the players and failed to change the rules to make the sport safer. In doing these things, the brief stated that the NFL breached a common law duty to protect the players.
In its August motion to dismiss the lawsuits, the NFL argued that the allegations were really a labor issue that should be handled by the players’ collective bargaining agreement, not a court of law. The NFL claimed that it never did anything to hide information on brain injuries from the players and is now doing what it can to better protect their health.
Many of the plaintiff-players testified that they were encouraged to go back into games — often with pain killers — after suffering concussions. It is now widely accepted in the medical world that multiple concussions can lead to brain damage because the brain becomes more vulnerable with each trauma it endures.
Source: Boston Globe, “Ex-players reply to NFL’s motion to dismiss cases,” Howard Fendrich, Oct. 31, 2012