Football Players Sue League Over Concussion Risks

If you have been following our blogs about football and concussion risks, then you know that this was bound to happen.

According to an article on

Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions on players’ brains but concealed the information from players, coaches, trainers and others until June 2010.

Not only did the NFL fail to inform the players of the risks, but they failed to protect the players from known risks.

Multiple concussions can lead to long-term brain injury, memory loss, depression, dementia, and a neurologic condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), which mimics Lou Gehrig’s disease. The condition has become so wide-spread among football players that retired player Dave Duerson, who committed suicide at age 50, donated his brain to Boston University’s brain bank. (To read our blog about this, click here: Football Player Donates Brain to Research)

According to an article in The New York Times, published February 11, 2011:

Players who began their careers knowing the likely costs to their knees and shoulders are only now learning about the cognitive risks, too. After years of denying or discrediting evidence of football’s impact on the brain — from C.T.E. in deceased players to an increasing number of retirees found to have dementia or other memory-related disease — the N.F.L. has spent the last year addressing the issue, mostly through changes in concussion management and playing rules.

The N.F.L. has also donated $1 million to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy [known to players as the “brain bank”], the research group that will soon examine Duerson’s brain.

At the brain bank, brains of 15 former NFL players have been studied — 14 of them show signs of degenerative C.T.E.

What the Suit Is About

According to the article, the players contend that members of the NFL’s Brain Injury Committee denied knowledge of a link between concussion and cognitive decline. In addition:

“When the NFL’s Brain Injury Committee anticipated studies that would implicate causal links between concussion and cognitive degeneration it promptly published articles producing contrary findings, although false, distorted and deceiving, as part of the NFL’s scheme to deceive Congress, the players and the public at large,” the suit says.

“The defendants acted willfully, wantonly, egregiously, with reckless abandon, and with a high degree of moral culpability,” the former players charge in court documents.

Due to multiple and severe concussions, some former players have died…many currently suffer from post-concussion syndrome…and nearly all now have cause for serious concern. We’ll be watching how this suit proceeds and report back with news. We wish the players luck in their pursuit of justice and the truth, for their own sake, and the sake of future players.

To read the full article on, click here:  Former NFL Players: League Concealed Concussion Risks

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