The connection between mild traumatic brain injuries and long-term health consequences has been the subject of medical scholarship for decades. Although for many years the NFL denied the link, it can no longer be disputed that concussions suffered by professional football players lead to numerous neurological problems and tragic outcomes for the players and their families.
As medical studies have shown for many years, traumatic brain injuries occur when the head rapidly accelerates and then stops, or when it spins rapidly. Concussions can lead to confusion, blurred vision, memory loss, nausea, and loss of consciousness. After a first concussion, an individual is four times more likely to suffer another, and after several concussions, injury occurs more readily and takes longer to recover from. Autopsies of over twenty-five former NFL players revealed that over 90% suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a debilitating condition that involves the slow build-up of a protein in the brain associated with cognitive decline and increased suicide risk.
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Many former football players suffer from early onset Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, mood swings, memory loss, and personality changes. A study of 1,094 former NFL players in 2000 showed that more than 60% had sustained at least one concussion, and 26% had suffered from two or more. Thirty-one percent of the former players had memory problems, 16% were unable to dress themselves, and 11% were unable to feed themselves.
More than 3,400 former players have currently filed lawsuits for brain injuries sustained during their careers, and a master complaint consolidating the suits was filed in June, 2012, in Philadelphia. A potential class action lawsuit could involve as many as 12,000 to 20,000 former NFL players, leading to liability of as much as $10 billion.
Distribution of a fund will require the involvement of special masters to determine the amount owed to each plaintiff. Trained mediators must have the experience, knowledge and sensitivity to inspire trust in the players and their families.
A fair and equitable distribution protocol will require full involvement for the players and their families in all aspects of the process. The plaintiffs and their families are entitled to the best medical care and financial compensation.
The former NFL players have suffered greatly because of the failure of the league to acknowledge and act upon the extensive medical evidence available for decades. Those suffering the tragic effects are entitled to a full voice in decision-making and complete transparency in all aspects of the resolution of these cases.
For more information contact, Lawrence Pascal in the Alexandria, Virginia office at (866) 709-0505.