Report: NFL sued for concealing brain injury risks

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As one major legal entanglement for the NFL nears a conclusion, another one reportedly begins.

According to the folks at TMZ, 75 former NFL players have sued the league for concealing the risks of concussions.  The plaintiffs include former Dolphins receiver Mark Duper (pictured), former Giants and Cardinals running back Ottis Anderson, and former Giants running back Rodney Hampton.  Helmet manufacturer Riddell also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The challenge for the plaintiffs will be to prove that the NFL actually knew, or reasonably should have known, the chronic, long-term risks of concussions.  Clear links between concussions and long-term health problems have been established only recently, and the league has responded fairly aggressively (especially after a shot across the bow from Congress) to the problem.

And just as the league supposedly didn’t know for years about the potential problems arising from concussions, the league also doesn’t know about the lawsuit.  Reached by e-mail, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said that the league is not aware of the claims.

“We have not seen the complaint but would vigorously contest any claims of this kind,” Aiello said.

48 responses to “Report: NFL sued for concealing brain injury risks

  1. It’s so hard to imagine a time in which the dangers of concussions wasn’t common knowledge… but maybe they have a point, I don’t know. Just don’t delay this season.

  2. I’m suing for all the stress on my system from my teams losing seasons…good thing I’m not a lions fan. Didn’t one of the plaintiffs sue McDonalds for their coffee being hot a while back? ridiculous

  3. While I have little doubt that the owners have been less than forthright regarding the dangers of concussions, this seems like yet another bunch of gold diggers that have spent all their money, are looking to make an buck. I mean, its freaking football. They probably had concussions in high school, college, and then the NFL. Was this a surprise? If they didn’t take that into account, then they must have taken a few too many hits, or are just not that bright.

  4. Just as the league could have concluded that numerous hits to the head could cause problems, these players knew they were taking a risk as well. I agree that the league should pay for health care for retired players, but this suit seems frivolous.

  5. Maybe the plaintiffs want this to be part of the global settlement as well? I guess they figured if Manning, Brees, etc were willing to push their luck why not them too….

  6. These guys are jokes…

    My job requires a lot of driving… I think in a few years after I retire, I’m going to sue my company saying that they knew that because I drive on the road a lot, I was at a greater risk for being involved in a car accident and didn’t tell me about the dangers and didn’t do anything to protect me.

    Anyone who pretends that they didn’t know the risks of injury when playing in the NFL is straight up lying. They knew the risk, but didn’t mind when they were getting paid the big $$ and getting all the glory. Now, there time has passed and they just want a hand-out! Ridiculous!

  7. At this point all we care about is is this going to hold up the settlement? If not, more power to them…

  8. Hello folks, anything that requires your head to take impact doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out that it’s gonna F you up…. Hmmm, I wonder if the Marine Corps made me where a Kevlar helmet all the time just because it looked cool…..

  9. Should have known…the NFL, Riddell, or the players themselves? Sixty-some years ago I was knocked out; the old traveling general MD warned me about the possibility of brain damage should I suffer any more head injuries…he referred to it as possibly “getting soft in the head”.

    Were these 75 plaintiffs unaware of concussions, considering they all had college educations? And yet, the NFL in trying to stop head injuries in spite of the demonizing of Roger for doing so.

    I am truly sorry for any person afflicted with brain injuries/illnesses, and those who suffer diminished mental capacities. But football is not forced on any person. Whenever I or any of my associates were caught with our hands in the proverbial cookie jar, our only excuse was: “This is the life we chose.”

  10. I have had it with these former players! they had no idea it was a violent game when they played or there were any risk?? I hate to see it but the players of the 80’s and 90’s are a bunch of whiny sue happy punks. they should just cut the gains that are in the new cba right now because those girls are going to be bringing lawsuit after lawsuit for the next 20 years so use their money to pay the lawyers the league will need.
    they played big shot and spent all their money and now think everyone owes them something. its pathetic

  11. This is just like the lady who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonalds….common sense people – 250lb men running at full speed at each other is going to cause some damage.

    If the plaintiffs prove that the NFL actually knew, or reasonably should have known, the chronic, long-term risks of concussions…the players should have too. I’m not a lawyer, but two things some to mind (a) assumption of risk and (b) contributory negligence.

    Next, you’ll see the league being sued for turf toe.

  12. Not a one of these guys would have made the decision to get a real job even if they had known the risks.

  13. This is some bs they know the risks of playing in the NFL they just want some money

  14. Don’t defend the league on this, it’s idiotic. They pretended for decades that repeated bruising of the brain ( a concussion) was no big deal. And they got their doctors to say so to cover their asses. And only when everyone else, except them, in the universe accepted the idea of multiple concussions being a very bad thing for people to go through did they barely begin to acknowledge it. And then they even had to have the federal government push them to really admit it. Now they are rapidly trying to take one of the most physical sports ever invented and turn into freeze tag. Gee, I wonder why that is?

  15. Elliot Pellman was a stooge concussion doctor for the NFL for many years.

    He is a disgrace to the profession… but he was also probably following orders… the orders of the NFL.

  16. They might as well sue their Universities, High schools and Pee Wee Foot Ball….

  17. sounds like a lawyer trying to make a name for himself….these players all look at it as they got nothing to lose & everything to gain…sad part probably is, is that the lawyer doesn’t give a rats a#@ about these guys but has found an angle to exploit…..pretty soon we’ll all be hearing stories about their lives & how they have been ruined by those sneaky thoughtless greedy BILLIONAIRS while they suffer…..truth be told I’m sure they are, just not due to neglegence by the NFL & Riddlell helmets but because of the sport they willingly played & got paid for….now if they had medical knowledge & didn’t allow them to wear helmets & forced them to play then that would be a different story….accountability is on the players, they KNEW what they were doing & the risks involved(phisical bodily abuse including head injuries even though somewhat protected) in a violent sport….gotta stop this in its’ tracks….

  18. Keep your eyes peeled for the phrases “ultrahazardous activity” or “abnormally dangerous activity” in this and other lawsuits involving brain injury. These legal terms are used in personal injury claims based on strict liability aka “no fault”. This could be the Achilles heel of football at all levels. Basically, these activities are dangerous because the risk of injury is great even when reasonable care is exercised to avoid injury. While these players may not prevail, with all the ongoing research into concussions and brain injury, the connection will be made and no helmet will be adequate to prevent serious brain injury. Thus, the injuries occur with regularity even though the new helmets claim to reduce their frequency and severity. Once a plaintiff establishes this, liability attaches for injuries suffered while playing football.

    Much like the tobacco cases, as this case proceeds, more and more damaging info will be revealed and this will spawn more lawsuits, many involving colleges and high schools that can’t afford to defend multiple suits. Insurance would be expensive and hard to find. When these schools have to pay exorbitant premiums, football will yield to economics. When that happens, the well of young players will dry up.

    This new CBA may be the last. Enjoy it whle it lasts.

  19. “Don’t defend the league on this, it’s idiotic.”


    Don’t defend the players who in this lawsuit either. I knew concussions were bad when I was a little kid, and anyone who didn’t know this for themselves is also an idiot.

  20. Anybody want to tlak about this now?

    “Not 10 minutes after that film, we went into the defensive meeting and the D coordinator [Sean McDermott] got up and said, ‘Nothing changes about us. Nothing changes in your guys’ mentality,’” Hobbs told Levens. “I mean, we all knew that anyway because we want jobs. I don’t really see anybody with a job who can’t tackle.”

  21. Cry me a river! Should have stuck to figure skating if ya didnt want to play in a contact sport. All these idiots played football for a huge money day, suck it up and get a real job like the rest of us!

  22. I’M SCHOCKED at some of the good posts here and so many having more thumbs down than up.i for one look at it like this, anybody that continues to abuse thier body and really thinks there will be no long term affects is completly stupid not ignorant but stupid and these players are no different they knew the risks that came along with the proffession.they can say the nfl withheld information on long term effects of this and even if they did it’s no excuse for these players acting like they didn’t know and if for some really strange reason one or wo of them didn’t know they would give the term dumb jock a whole new meaning.but the real sad part is our wonderful legal system will more likely than not award these jokers a judgement

  23. Obviously just another case of gold-digging oppotunism, blah blah blah, nothing that surprising here.

    What I’m curious about though is why are Riddell being sued? Surely they have done more to *prevent* concussions in football players than pretty much anybody out there.

  24. The NFL fosters a work environment that encourages players to play when they are injured. Not just dinged up, injured. Players are expected to put their long term health at risk – some even brag about it and call it toughness. And now we’re seeing “tough” guys die young.

    If you don’t believe players have demands on them to play with major injuries, look at all of flack Jay Cutler is taking for not playing with a blown knee.

    Lions fans, remember when Lawrence Taylor knocked out Rusty Hilger (at the Silverdome)? Hilger was walking around in a daze, out cold on his feet! He was a hero to fans and announcers because he was trying to play with his brains scrambled, but had to be taken out of the game.

    Creating that environment, where playing with your brains scrambled is expected, and *demanded*, while encouraging players to believe a concussion is not a big deal (and knowing that it is a big deal), is why the NFL is being sued.

    I’m wondering if Riddell made untrue safety claims about their helmets? I don’t get why they’d be on the hook otherwise.

  25. As a person who has suffered from PCS (post concussion syndrome) for a long time I do feel for anyone who has to deal with symptoms especially if they are strong. The headaches and vision problems are awful but the sudden depression is the worst. I have read about players who people say have ended up killing them selves because of the brain injuries, Andre Waters is a name that comes to mind.

    That being said When I was 14-16 (that would be 1994-1996) was when i received 8 concussions 2 being what would be called severe in todays science (they have a grading system now a days) but no doctor ever warned me about PCS. While they did say that a bad enough concussion could make me lapse into a como. Mostly they just told me to take a week off (from Hockey) and i would be fine. It wasn;t untill 99 or so when i started getting symptoms and it wasn’t till 2004 when i was diagnosed. I think the problem was they just didn’t have the tech to really exzamine the problems like they do today.

    So as far as the complaints I seriously doubt the owners were with holding info about the problems that could occur later life. I just don’t think they knew as much about it.

    Now if these players had been asking the training staffs at the time “… hey man are all these hits to the head going to be bad for me in the future..” and the NFL did know and said “… no you’ll be just fine …” then these players may have a case. But since the science of head injuries has really only become really good over the last 12 years or so, my guess is this case doesn’t even make it passed summary judgement.

    Besides. Like many others have said if you can’t see that playing football is going to bad for your health overall then i think you were brain dead before you put a helmet on.

    The other stummbling block i see is proving any or all injuries happened in the NFL. In fatc studies say more head injuries happen at the high school level because players arn’t as experienced in defending themselves the right way and tackling the right way. This true is Hockey as i coach a pee wee team and even though its is light contact in our league USA hockey who governs all of youth hockey in this country made us take a course to help teach the kids how to protect your self while giving and getting hit on the ice. In fatc I wish when i was a kid they would have taught us as well and maybe I wouldn’t have the problems i do today (though my symtoms are very slight and have been getting less and less each year.

  26. Hey, it’s just another money grab. These guys are ex-NFL. Haven’t you been watching the last few weeks? Cash is King.

    Next Jeremy Shockey will be suing the league because they didn’t tell him coke and booze are bad for you.

  27. Isn’t part of this agreement to put more money aside to help these older players? Why create a big stink right before a deal is about to be signed that might just help you a little bit. I knew a lot of the players were dumb but common man. I think the NFL is trying to go down a less impactfull road but the players are not buying into it not the NFL. These will be the same guys complaining 20 years from not that there head hurts and the NFL didn’t stop them from doing it.

  28. GOLD DIGGERS !! Everybody wants something for nothing ! Everyone who plays contact sports is at risk for injury !! Solution……DONT PLAY !!

  29. Sounds kinda like the tobacco company’s no? For 50 year they said cigarettes were great for you, no problems, nothing to worry about, just look at OUR studys.

    Sure, we can all look at smokers and say man, that has to bad for you, but the study’s say everything but that.

    Just change the characters involved, replace Big Tobacco with Big Football, and smokers with players, and it can play out quite similarly.

  30. I just read the same article on espn. Their case is going back as far as the 1920’s when players used to wear those leather helmets with no face guard and probably played a more physical game then they do today. Players today still get concussions with all the modern technology they have for player safety. I guess a billion dollars in benefits wasn’t enough for these guys and now they want more. Well see how this lawsuit goes.

  31. From the link provided at the top…

    Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the NFL, claiming it intentionally concealed the harmful effects of game-related concussions for NINETY YEARS.

    “The NFL knew as early as the 1920’s of the harmful effects on a player’s brain of concussions; however, until June of 2010 they concealed these facts from coaches, trainers, players and the public.”

    Intentionally concealing information about head trauma FOR 90 YRS?

    If proven, it might be a serious problem for the NFL. I see this as just another piece of the puzzle that makes little sense to me…

    IMO, it was absolutely crazy for Goodell and the NFL to begin fining players for “improper tacking”…

    The referees on the field had been responsible for interpreting and enforcing the rules of the game since the inception of the league.

    …Not until last year, have fans and players seen the regular fining of players by a NFL commissioner.

    …did anyone wonder WHY Roger Goodell would resort to such an act…fining players for doing what they have been doing since football became an American game…tackling?

    Now, IMO, it becomes clearer, WHY…

    … it is an attempt by the NFL to escape possible legal liability for not providing NFL players with the safest equipment available to protect them from brain trauma…and for not “mandating” the safest helmets.

    Since Willie Lanier first wore a helmet with padding added to the outside, in 1967, the NFL has known that such a helmet better protected players from brain trauma…yet the NFL failed to mandate these safer helmets.

    Roger Goodell is attempting to shift the responsibility from the NFL to the players, due to LEGAL LIABILITY.

    I have written on the subject of helmet safety for some time and suspected legal liability was the REAL reason why Goodell and the NFL suddenly targeted/fined the players for using “improper tackling technique”.

    …I have little doubt, the NFL knew this legal case was coming and Goodell and the NFL owners did all they could to shift the focus away from themselves and onto the players, in an attempt to escape legal liability for not providing the safest possible equipment for their players…


  32. The plaintiffs are folks a lot of us looked up to because they were brave and tough. They were the essence of what it is to be a man. Back in their playing days, like a lot of young men, they probably weren’t thinking about the future. Their playing days must have been awesome and why think about the days they can’t play anymore. Unfortunately their bodies were writing checks it can’t cash. I suppose now that they are older they wish they would have been more careful and been better to their bodies. It’ll be interesting to see how far this goes. I think it will be hard to prove the NFL kept it from it’s players. Terry Bradshaw may not talk about having numerous concussions but I can tell from listening to him that he’s been hit one too many times. No disrespect Terry; you’re a great guy.

  33. nyctexan says:”It’s so hard to imagine a time in which the dangers of concussions wasn’t common knowledge… but maybe they have a point, I don’t know. Just don’t delay this season.”
    Really? These people are worried about the effects of football on their long term health, and you are only thinking about it in terms of delaying your entertainment? You are a selfish P.O.S. Guess what? Everything isn’t about you.

  34. Let’s see. Concussions have been going on since the very early days of football. Players wear pads and helmets and hit each other as hard as they possibly could. Yet, the players had no idea they could get a concussion? Yeah right. Tha’s pretty funny since I knew there was this possibility as early as playing pop warner ball. Give me a break!

    We should all sue these 75 players for being stupid!

  35. dude… everyone back in the day never really took concussions seriously….

    watch a “WWF” match from like, 7 to 10 years ago… There’s dudes headbutting off of ladders, getting up, woozy. The commentators are giggling like, “The lights are on! nobodies home!”

    now they’ve banned The Piledriver, Unprotected Chair shots to the head, I think the DDT, etc.

  36. The players knew just as well as the NFL that concusions were bad for them, as they strapped on their helmets after the play they got knocked out and headed back onto te field.

  37. Wernt players also complaing the nfl was turning this sport into flag football by coming down hard on head shots?

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