Nearly 1,200 former players have filed suit for concussions

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Several of you have asked, given the ongoing rash of concussion-related lawsuits, for a full tally of the total number of former players who have instituted legal action.

Per a source with knowledge of the total number of actions and plaintiffs, and based on my rudimentary counting skills, nearly 1,200 former players have filed suit.  (Specifically, I counted 1,186.)

And the number is always changing, because new lawsuits continuously are being filed.

At some point soon, I’ll go through the full list and pull out the recognizable names.  For example, I didn’t previously realize that Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett has filed a claim.

Several other Hall of Famers have filed.  More undoubtedly will.  Regardless of how this all turns out, it has become an unprecedented legal attack on an American sports league by the men who used to play the game.

51 responses to “Nearly 1,200 former players have filed suit for concussions

  1. This lawsuit has no merrit. These players knowingly and willingly signed contracts, cashed checks etc knowing there was risk for injury. Whats next, the NFL knew a torn ACL could cause wlaking problems? This is a case of people who did not manage money well and see the NFL as a golden goose.

  2. Translation: I’m outta money, and my autograph ain’t selling.

    How could the NFL have known if doctors didn’t know?

  3. Former and current players criticize the new rule changes regarding hits to the head – “take off the skirt!” or “it’s become flag football!” But then the players just turn around and sue. Can’t have it both ways fellas.

  4. If they keep this up, the end result will be the end of the NFL. Next are they going to file suit against the colleges they played for and the pee wee leagues they played in? They just didn’t getting concussions when they entered the NFL.

  5. Can these players also sue the NFLPA since they were representing their interests? If the NFL knew as they contend then so did their union.

  6. If any of these guys ever saw a football game before they played, they had to know there were inherant risks. These suits are like a NASCAR driver suing a track because they got in an accident. At 180MPH you have to assume some risks. Its the same for players. Why just concussions? Why not sue for back, ankle, knee and shoulder injuries? They didn’t know they were going to knock heads? The NFL should settle this by increasing pensions for players BEFORE 1993, when the big pot of money first rolled in. The rest will just have to suck it up.

  7. These lawsuits will lead the league to implement some sort of “three concussions and you’re out” rule, which in turn will lead to more players trying to hide any symptoms which ultimately will lead to more concussions, hence more lawsuits. This is a violent game and the league needs to have every player sign a disclaimer that would clear the league of any future litigation. Otherwise it will be a neverending cycle.

  8. In breaking news, 600 former NBA players are filing suit against the league for arthritis stemming from ankle sprains during their careers.

    Jeez, this is ridiculous. Did the league or the teams violate the contracts that the players signed? I don’t get this at all. They are grasping at straws.

  9. Too bad they have no case…the NFL payed these guys nothing and the NFL and NFLPA haven’t done a good job of repaying these guys who made this game wildly popular so it actually doesn’t bother me one bit. Hope they GET SOME, but they won’t…concussion data wasn’t hidden by the league in the 60’s like Big Tobacco hid it’s findings; we are really just starting to learn about the effects of concussions.

    I’m a fan of the league, but that doesn’t mean I have to defend it every time like some robotic tool. They have no case, but that doesn’t mean they should receive fair compensation for their playing time…that’s what they really want and deserve.

  10. Had to be those three years they were in the NFL, and not the 60 years of hard drinking, drugs, fights, and motor vehicle accidents, since they were cut.

  11. It would make more since if they filed claims for all the heavy pain medications the dr’s prescribed and in turn destroyed guys kiddneys,livers ,got them addicted to them ect ect. The concusion wasnt a known factor like pain killers were.

  12. And here I always assumed they were grossly overpaid for the assumption of risk to life/limb, guess not. Yes I know they old timers didn’t make nearly what they do now.

    Hope this gets under control quick, every sport is at risk here for every injury.

  13. AP Story from Jan 19,1976
    Lynn Swann Ignored the Risks
    Doctors warned a hard hit on the head could cause further brain damage. Swann’s answer “To hell with it”

    Even in 1994 when concussion risks are more known; From an article called “A No-Brainer Agent appalled by concussions”

    The Cowboys’ star has suffered six concussions, the last two within a nine-month span, and could be at risk for permanent long-term damage. Aikman admits he took a gamble by playing in Super Bowl XXVIII, but he again shrugged off the risk when he played a week after suffering a mild brain trauma against the Cardinals Oct. 23.

  14. I’ve had multiple concussions. Can I sue too? After all it must be someone else’s fault.

  15. This is exactly why Goodell is hammering the Saints and coaches. It doesn’t matter what we think as fans. It doesn’t matter that all the explanations above make sense that these players willingly chose to play this sport. It doesn’t matter that the NFLPA did in support of players. All that matters is what the courts say. That is why the NFL and Goodell are doing everything they can to make the game “safer”.

    Just calculate 1200 players x $1M each. And the $1M is just a guess as to how much each player would be asking for in compensation from the league in a lawsuit. And not to mention the legal costs.

    So you want perspective from the Saints bounty fallout and reasoning for the harsh punishments…the NFL and commish is trying to protect the league from over a billion dollars worth of lawsuit claims…and I believe that is a lowball guess as to the total the league is facing in lawsuits. That is reason enough. This is not about protecting players. This is about protecting the league so the league is making the impression that they are protecting the players…who will therefore not have a very strong case in the future.

  16. Can you say “itch” better have my money” i’m sure most if not all are pretty near broke or just looking for a payday…come on fellows, if you win this case all of us ex-military can then go to court and claim all the aches and pains and mental anguish we suffer is due to the military…

  17. nineroutsider well written.

    The NFL can throw many obstacles in front of these lawsuits, the downside is the negative publicity, but the best thing would be to do more for retired players.

    The NFL already has elaborate disability comp & treatment systems in place, which was recently enhanced by a neurological care program that provides alumni w/access to specialists @ 5 leading medical centers. There is also the 88 Plan. There are also other, older disability plans that provide comp. But the NFL can and I believe will do more. In addition to these new rules which have led and will lead to a decrease in the risk of long-term neurological damage, they can establish a comp fund for those suffering from injuries/conditions that have been linked to concussions (early-onset Alzheimer’s, ALS & chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

    Football is violent by design, it’s not golf or tennis — that doesn’t mean that the violence/injuries should continue. The NFL has been proactive which will not only benefit current players who wll be former players but it will benefit college and high school football.

    There is historical precedent as well. In 1905, players began dying, 18 in one year, from injuries sustained on the field. It got to the point that there were proposals in Congress to ban football. President Roosevelt persuaded the NFL to change certain rules to eliminate plays that were responsible for most of these injuries, sound familiar, which saved the game.

    I’m sure a lot of people back then didn’t like it and felt those changes destroyed the essence of the game but 100+ yrs later, football is doing better than ever. Football will adapt, it always does.

  18. What’ the best thing for these nearly 1200 guys filing suit on the NFL? Nobody had to take a day off from work to find a lawyer. Really-get a job you bums.

  19. The whole they are out of money and want a paycheck isnt a valid argument. The nfl has been changing the rules to make it safer to the players for a few years now. The fact of the matter is the nfl knows that it is a unsafe sport and is working to make it safer.

    I agree that all players knew that they wheren’t playing 2 hand touch and got paid to play it but if the owners and commisher knew that they where causing perment damage then the players have a case.

    By changing the rules to make it safer for the players the nfl is saying that the game wasnt as safe as it could of been…hence a lawsuit.

    message to the nfl…Leave the damm game alone

  20. Surprised at the reaction. Not about knowing the risks, it’s about how the NFL conducted itself realtive to the management of concussion, and what they knew about long term effects. I don’t think there is one player out there that is whining that they had no idea about the physicality of football…but in the early days, i think guys did put some faith and trust in team coaches and doctors…that is where the players went wrong

  21. It reminds me of feeding cattle. They’re all running to the trough for one more paycheck!

  22. “Nearly 1,200 former players have filed suit for concussions”

    And not a single one of them was hurt by the Saints Defense….

  23. Damn. . . I forgot what I was going to post. I don’t think I played in the NFL. What the hell add my name to the suit.

  24. Now you know why Goodell is coming down so hard on head shots and the bountygate. It’s to prevent future lawsuits. Nothing forces change like the threat of lawsuits or bad publicity in today’s world.

  25. These are the same guys that are calling today’s players soft. You cant become a coal miner and complain about lung issues when you get older. You cant be a gymnast and then cry about breaking bones from falls. I am usually on the players side almost 95% of the time. However, right is righ and this is definitely wrong. They may have a legitimate point with medical bills but the other stuff seems insincere.

  26. This could rapidly snowball. If/When high schools started being sued, things will really get ugly. We may soon reach a time when there will be no high school football due to potential liability……what we’ll have is “club” teams, where every player will have to have their own insurance coverage.

  27. nineroutsider says:
    Apr 13, 2012 2:35 PM

    “Too bad they have no case…the NFL payed these guys nothing and the NFL and NFLPA haven’t done a good job of repaying these guys who made this game wildly popular so it actually doesn’t bother me one bit. Hope they GET SOME”

    They were all highly paid for playing a game they loved. In fact, they were more highly paid than 95% of people…. again, for playing a game they loved to play. Players these days make millions. Furthermore, only an idiot would consider it to be a life long career and only an idiot would not expect to have to get into something else afterwards because only an idiot wouldn’t know that it only lasts a few years. To portrait them as being under compensated for their services is ludicrous.

  28. Entitlement babies of America unite!

    Nothing is ever your fault, there is recourse! Well, at least until their money runs out.

    They all knew the risks, or were up to speed to the level of the times in which they played.

    Carpe Diem and Caveat Emptor

  29. Air bag helmuts is the solution. If it goes off, it is a penalty no matter how the hit was made. 10 airbags equals a career.

    See.. easy solution and I want my cut of the idea!

  30. Thanks for answering my question, Florio. Another question for you — has this been classified as a ‘class action’ situation yet? If not, why not? They sure seem to have the numbers necessary. Or are there other requirements they must also meet?

  31. The unprecedented legal attack on an American sports league could have been mitigated during the labor negotiations? If the former players are backed into a corner and feel they have no other recourse, this is what you get? The NFL Health Benefit package as compared to MLB and NBA is woeful! I read all the jokes but don’t think there health is a joking matter to them, their caregivers or loved ones! They understand that there may not be “pot of gold” at the end of this but any improvements in health care benefits are worth the fight. The Lawyers will be the ones to profit the most! Much of this should of been handled in the last CBA deal? NFLPA is at just as much fault as the NFL. These men love the game as much as you Fans, even more, but love won’t pay medical bills?

  32. Florio

    If you post the names of the concussion plaintifs please also research a list of former players with chronic health issues. You can start with Kevin Turner, Wilbur Marshall, Earl Cambell, William Perry, et al.

  33. This is bull! You know what you were getting into when you signed your name on the dotted line! It’s a contact sport and they knew the risk when you got on the field! Hell wish I could have got to the NFL would be glad I could have played in the world greatest sport!

  34. This can’t be so. Everyone knows that concussions only come from fighting in hockey. Just saying that’s always been a bad argument. There has got to be a way to make the equipment better, even if it means putting Kevlar inside helmets some how.

  35. @grimreeper

    The details of who knew what and when will come out during the discovery phase if it gets that far? Honestly…could care less about that. More interested in how the NFL and NFLPA will assist former players moving forward.

  36. Ok, so it is now out there that at 1186 players have long term effects from concussions and playing football. Since you were kind enough to go through the whole list of players suing, I will now go through the entire list of players that retired this off-season, stating that they now know how much of a risk the NFL really is so they want to move to the safe and healthy life of a job like insurance salesman, janitor, or business manager. The list is as follows:

    No one.

    Please send me a tip through Paypal for all of the effort I put into compiling that list.

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