NFL Urges Judge to Toss Concussion Suits
Issue is a labor dispute, league argues
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2012 1:10 AM CDT
Former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who suffered from dementia, killed himself in April at the age of 62.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Thousands of former players suing the NFL over football-related brain injuries should have their lawsuits dismissed because the issue is a "labor dispute," the league argues. The NFL filed a motion yesterday to shut down the lawsuits, reports AP. Some 3,377 former players, including 26 Hall of Famers, have sued the NFL because they believe the league didn't do enough to warn them of the dangers of concussions, or to look after them when their careers ended. Spouses and other relatives are also suing, including the widow of former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who committed suicide in April.

The league ignored and concealed medical links between concussions and brain injuries, causing many players to suffer later in life, the players claim. Former Dallas Cowboys star Tony Dorsett says the memory problems he now suffers from are the result of concussions in his 12-year career. One hit knocked him out cold—but he was allowed to return to the field. The league denies it sought to mislead players about the effects of concussions, and says compensation should be resolved only under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

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Sep 7, 2012 11:18 PM CDT
I'm sick of hearing these guys constantly whining. Since the 70s most of these guys had college degrees- I would assume they earned them- indicating some kind of intelligence. Anyone who's ever played football knows the risk- doctor or not. Even the bench warmers average $100K a year and can afford the insurance- if they think it's too much to pay, then they should get a real job like the rest of us. Could you imagine every laborer, ditch digger, and farm hand getting a pay back from their employers cause they claimed they didn't know repetitive lifting bending and stooping will wear out you back, knees and other joints. They're spoiled rich children who didn't want to work, not role models or heroes, and now whine about how they hurt themselves. It's their choice to let a team doctor or coach push them back on the field without a second opinion because they don't want to pay for a real doctor. Let them experience the reality of getting fired for refusing to do something unsafe or unethical like everyone else. If they do get to sue- it ought to be the doctors directly. If the doctors were liable and ethical they wouldn't let the league bully them into putting "at risk" players back in the game. These doctors are more than happy to look the other way for a guaranteed annual fat check.
Aug 31, 2012 8:24 AM CDT
The players aren't mad they got concussions. They knew that was an inherent risk. What they're mad about is how the coaches/trainers/doctors would allow them to go back in after sustaining a concussion. If you've ever had a concussion, you'll know that there is no way you're mentally able to make rational decisions like whether you're okay once you've sustained a concussion. That responsibility then falls to the team doctors/trainers to decide, and for years, they didn't do enough to protect the players once they had a concussion. That's why the players are suing. Not because they simply got concussions, but because they weren't treated properly after getting one.
Aug 31, 2012 7:39 AM CDT
From my perspective it is the fact that the NFL hid the real ugliness of not just one concussion but the effects of multiple consecutive concussions that will prove to be their biggest legal obstacle to overcome. Reminds me of drug companies not revealing the long term effects of a drug, ie Tylenol or Advil and renal or liver damage. Now those drugs carry a black box warning, something the drug companies fought tooth and nail. If in fact the NFL had evidence of the effects long term, of multiple concussions, and hid it from players, then they will have a tough road to hoe in future litigation. Granted one need only look at the boxers Evander Holyfield, and Muhammed Ali to recognize the long term effects that too many blows to the head can have, but the respective leagues do bear some responsibility when it comes to warning players of the real risks involved with sports, especially if they hid potential damaging evidence.