Jones-Drew ties concussion awareness to lawsuits

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Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew recently told the Associated Press that he’d hide a concussion in order to keep playing.  Even more recently, he has blamed the league’s relatively new sensitivity to concussions on the latest trend in litigation.

“I’ve had concussions before, and it wasn’t this big deal about concussions,” Jones-Drew said Wednesday, according to the AP.  “The only reason they’re making a big deal about concussions right now is because the league is getting sued over it.  Before this, you never heard about it.  A couple of years ago, you didn’t hear anything about it.”

He’s right, but the catalyst for change wasn’t litigation.  It was the federal government.

In October 2009, Congress held a hearing regarding the issue of concussions in football.  Not long after that, the NFL made dramatic changes to its procedures relating to head trauma.  Those changes continue, with the league now focusing on changes to the manner in which concussions are diagnosed during games.  Along the way, players who played before the changes were made have filed suit, claiming that the league concealed the risks and/or failed to properly protect the players.

Still, Jones-Drew sees the entire issue as an “occupational hazard.”

And so, as the league deals with the challenge of concussions and potential future lawsuits, the NFL should consider spelling out all of the concussion-related risks and getting players to acknowledge that they understand and accept those risks before they ever sign an NFL contract.

Few will choose not to sign.  Indeed, we’re still not aware of a single NFL player who has walked away from the game due to the fear of the possible consequences of concussions.

Employees take far worse risks — for far less money — in many different lines of work, from coal mining to law enforcement to the military.  If anything, the NFL has failed in the past to ensure that the players fully and completely understood those risks.

Even if they did, most if not all of the players would have kept on playing.

32 responses to “Jones-Drew ties concussion awareness to lawsuits

  1. Robert Smith walked away from the game early because “he wanted to play with his kids”.

    I can name 15 guys who retired early. None of them may have said “head trauma” but clearly its implied in some cases.

  2. Now if only the federal Government would do something to create some jobs. (and I’m not bashing a particular party here trolls, I’m bashing all of them)

  3. Jones-Drew is a real man, and Godell’s-En Ef Ell is getting too flag football for his tastes.

  4. It’s incredible to see former players filing suit against the league for their own decisions. This would be like Ali suing for the head trauma he suffered during his boxing days. We all know it is violent with great potential of injury. No one forced anyone to play.

  5. The bottom line is money. If the NFL can save $ on the back end by pretending to care about concussions, they know the fans will still watch because we love the game.

    Do you see the majority of old timers turning football off? NO WAY. Will they comment about how soft it’s become. ABSOLUTELY.

  6. One of the biggest problems that won’t go away is wanting to have the superstars play long MLB-type careers. The NFL isn’t designed for that, nor should it be. As long as they keep trying to craft the rules to allow for longevity, both sides of the issue will be mad.

  7. This “awareness” about concussions is ALL about litigation and everybody in positions of power in the NFL knows it.

    Football is quite clearly an inherently dangerous activity. The NFL is trying to create a track record of taking reasonable measures to reduce the risk to the players…not because it is the “right thing to do” but because this will be a major part of the defense in such litigation.

    The defendants in future litigation will be team owners, stadium owners, helmut manufacturers, playing surface manufacturers, trainers, coaches, team physicians, NFL Commissioners…and the list goes on.

    An interesting and ironic aspect to the litigation will be that the hits that have caused the damage are being delivered by other players, not by any of the defendants. But the real danger point for the NFL is that it has created – and profits greatly from – an inherently dangerous workplace.

  8. Robert Smith walked away from the game early because “he wanted to play with his kids”.


    and that implies “head trauma”??

  9. I hear boxing is afraid of getting sued for concussions too. They’re barring hits to the neck and head as well.

  10. It’s a joke that these former players are suing. Like they didn’t know the risks when they got in. Maybe if they saved their money they wouldn’t be looking to take advantage of this.

  11. Concussions are a part of football & money is the prize. Some will spend their old age drueling into a bib
    on their lazy-boy.
    Nascar/Indy/Hydroplane racers know their potential fate each time they chase the prize. Why different in the NFL?

  12. He says that now… along with all the other current players, but several years after their careers are over and their money has dried up, he’ll be part of yet another lawsuit that claims the didn’t know the danger of what they were doing, and they deserve to be compensated…


  13. “Indeed, we’re still not aware of a single NFL player who has walked away from the game due to the fear of the possible consequences of concussions”


    I can think of at least half a dozen including Steve Young.

  14. Merle Hodge retired due to head injuries
    Here are the details I found

    “After seven seasons with the Steelers, Hoge signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent in 1994, but played in only five games with only six carries and 13 receptions.
    During a game against the Chiefs in Kansas City, Hoge received a concussion and, five days later, the team doctor approved him to resume playing during a telephone call without examining him to determine if he had recovered; he was still suffering post-concussion symptoms.
    Hoge sustained another concussion several weeks later, and had to be resuscitated after he stopped breathing. He spent 48 hours in the intensive-care unit and was forced to retire due to brain injury. Hoge had to learn to read again and experienced memory loss, confusion and headaches. He later sued the Bears team doctor and won a $1.55 million judgment”

    This is from the Dangers of Concussions by Kevin Brockaway

  15. Just another thing the blowhard grandstanders in Congress messed up. They should give themselves concussion tests. Everyone who has ever strapped on the pads (including pee wee leaguers) knows that head injuries are a risk. Instead of accepting that fact and moving on, Goodell is seeking the appease the politicians and media do-gooders by changing the game of football. Now, instead of enjoying good hits, we immediately look for the flying yellow flag, and commentator analysis on whether a receiver was “defenseless,” whether the hit involved helmet to helmet, etc. If it wasn’t for fantasy football, I would not watch a down of NFL “football.” Football as we knew it is slowly fading away. Thanks for starting the descent Congress and thanks for hastening it Goodell.

  16. @fittytuckin: MJD added the name “Jones” to his last name to honor his late grandfather. Your problem with that is?

    Basically, MJD isn’t suing anyone and I won’t expect Steve Young doing so, either. This litigation-happy society has its members in the NFL Alumni, I guess.

  17. realmendontletothermenleaponthem says:
    Dec 29, 2011 2:52 PM
    Wow, this guy is Sherlock Holmes…


    Sherlock Holmes-Drew

  18. Well duh.

    I recall in the ’90’s Al Toon and Merril Hodge both retired and cited cuncussions as the primary reason, then Steve Young and Troy Akman both retire premuturely due to concussions. Now the NFL is all gung-ho about ‘protecting players’. Yeah right.

  19. Antonio Zchevski walked away from the game because of concussions, and he was never found again.

  20. I believe Jones Drew is 100% correct, linking the NFL sudden emphasis on fining and suspending players who don’t tackle the way Roger Goodell wants.

    The information concerning the NFL’s knowledge of the damage that could be done by repeated concussions dates back to the 1920s…but just became known to the players in “2010”.

    When did the NFL begin to fine players for not tackling as Roger Goodell would like them to?…I do believe it was “2010”.

    Folks, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what Goodell and the NFL owners are attempting to do with this sudden emphasis on the way the players tackle…they want to be able to blame the players for thousands of players who may have suffered brain damage since the NFL first did a study to find out the affect concussions had on their player’s brain.

    I will go a step further, wondering why the NFL never mandated helmets with foam padding added to the outside of the rock hard outer shell, even when they had evidence that such helmets did reduce the incidence of concussion for NFL players.

    Just a guess, but the NFL is likely worried about potential law suites over the helmet issue too and are not about to do anything to make the helmets safer until the potential legal liability issues are resolved.

    Next time Roger Goodell tells the public how much the NFL cares about their players safety and the threat of concussion, keep in mind how long the NFL has known about potential damage to the brain due to concussion (since the 1920s) and never told the players…

    ….AND ask yourself why the NFL has not mandated helmets with padding added to the outside, even though the NFL had evidence that such helmet could greatly reduce or eliminate the concussion risk, dating back to 1967.

    The NFL’s sudden emphasis (beginning in 2010) on the way the players tackle just happens to be when the NFL players became aware of the 1920s information the NFL had and did not share with it’s players, concerning brain damage as it relates to concussions.

  21. Don’t be surprisedif Jahvid Best walks away from football out of fear of concussion side effects. He was cleared to practice/play weeks ago, playoff contention and all, but was put on IR.

  22. “Employees take far worse risks — for far less money — in many different lines of work, from coal mining to law enforcement to the military. If anything, the NFL has failed in the past to ensure that the players fully and completely understood those risks.”

    Great job sir…

  23. Why is this a story? The NFL stepping up with concussion awareness and old timers suing the NFL? Seriously, if you didn’t put 2 and 2 together until now, it’s time to cleanse the gene pool.

  24. I suspect that the majority of the lunatic posts left by vikequeen dolts is a results of being concussed by their mothers dropping them on their heads.

  25. Go figure… politicians/lawyers are the cause of the problem. Reps, Dems, doesn’t matter they all live off the the fat of the land and contribute nothing but obstacles for people to succeed. All players know the risk of injury, it is a violent sport. They play for the love of the game, fame, glory and money. You may notice most players are against all the wussie rules being enforced and fans come to see the big hits not some softened version. Welcome to Police State USA and goodbye to freedom.

  26. I’m just happy to see a story about the Jaguars that doesn’t involve the words Los Angeles or tarps or blackouts.

    Woo-hoo! #JaxPride

  27. It’s easy to see why so many uninformed folks go for the “it’s what they signed up for” retort when this issue is brought up.

    No one signs up for the military KNOWING they will be shot and killed. And no one joins the fire/police force KNOWING it’s a guarantee they will die doing their respective jobs. And so it is for NFL players. None choose that career KNOWING they will end up like John Mackey, Larry Morris, Mike Webster, Andre Waters et all.

    Yes—in all three there is an “assumption of risk”. There of their employers to mitigate to the best of their ability those worst case outcomes.

    Training (initial and ongoing), proper equipment, education, and smart leaders all using the best possible procedures are MANDATORY in all of the above professions.

    Was Pat Tillman’s death “inevitable”? Is the death of a cop involved in a high speed chase when his squad car equipped with worn tires blows a rear tire and crashes just “a part of the job”?

    The NFL is being sued because they most likely DID NOT perform their obligations required in any employer-employee relationship in this country since the 1920’s.

    And for those of you who long for those “good old days” of child labor, unsafe working environments, mandatory 60 hour weeks with no overtime, and no insurance coverage the may God have mercy on your souls.

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