Sports Law • Risk Management


KC Chiefs Linebacker Suicide Possibly Linked to Head Trauma

On the morning of December 1, 2012 Javon Belcher, a 25-year-old linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, fatally shot his girlfriend and mother of his three-month-old daughter at their private residence before taking his own life at the Chiefs’ team facility. Belcher was confronted by Chiefs’ general manager, Scott Pioli and head coach, Romeo Crennel, in the parking lot outside the team’s facilities and thanked them for all they had done for him and asked that they take care of his baby daughter, before Belcher turned the gun on himself.

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.

Getting Ahead of Head Injuries in Sports and Recreation

A few years ago, on March 18, 2009, Headlines all over the world announced that actress Natasha Richardson died from a head injury that she sustained from a fall on a Quebec ski slope.

New Concussion Guidelines for the NBA

The new NBA guidelines regarding concussions are at the forefront today with Cleveland Caveliers Kyrie Irving, who suffered a head injury playing the Miami Heat last Tuesday. In order to resume play, Kyrie will have to undergo a series of tests, including riding a stationary bike, jogging, doing agility work and non-contact drills. Unless he can do these activities without showing concussion symptoms, he will not be released to play basketball.

December 11, 2010: NFL Illegal Hit Post-Game Enforcement: Ravens-Steelers

Sometimes officials on the football field will miss calling an illegal hit, but the NFL is monitoring the videotapes and imposing fines against athletes after-the-fact. Kudos to the NFL for taking this stance, however, it is time for the NFL to turn up the heat by putting pressure on the teams to prevent these illegal hits from occurring.

October 26, 2010: Mind Your Head

Earlier in the week I introduced the golden rule of risk management. Let me now introduce the “silver rule”: Mind your head. Yes, it is every athlete’s responsibility to mind their head. Afterall, each athlete has only one noggin. Helmet requirements for sports are widespread. But even with helmet rules and regulations, there is still room for foolishness.