Sports Law • Risk Management

NFL Concussion Lawsuits

As recently as July 1, 2012, Greg Rinsling of the Associated Press reported that there were more than 94 pending concussion related lawsuits against the National Football League with over 2,425 players as plaintiffs. These lawsuits are alleging that the NFL hid information that linked football related concussion injuries, even mild ones, to permanent brain injuries. Much of this is due to recent studies detailing the overwhelming evidence that even mild concussions can cause far more severe problems. Head trauma injuries in any sport can cause acute and chronic problems that persist and can even worsen later in life even without the occurrence of another brain injury. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits are attempting to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions that are the alleged result of concussions.

The NFL has denied similar accusations in the past, but regardless of blame, at least now more is being done to prevent concussions in football and in other sports. The NFL has done a lot in recent years to increase player safety especially with head trauma. The NFL has made it a point to referees to crack down on hits to the head and neck area or to a defenseless player. There are also rules that state that there must be on-field trainers, with no past affiliation to the team, to monitor game day head trauma and an independent neurologist must clear concussed players for return. It is best to seek a medical expert’s evaluation of a person who has sustained a concussion, before the athlete’s return to play, to ensure the long term health of the athlete.