Last month, 75 ex-football players filed suit the National Football League seeking unspecified amounts of damages for head injuries sustained over their careers. In the lawsuit, the players allege that the NFL knew of the harmful effects of multiple concussions as early as the 1920s, but kept that information from players until 2010. Riddell, the helmet maker, is also named in the lawsuit as a defendant.
As explained in this ESPN article, the players contend that the NFL knowingly withheld that information from them, to their detriment:
The lawsuit…alleges that the NFL did not admit that multiple concussions can affect memory and cause dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) until 2010…
Riddell spokeswoman Laura Moore said the company had not yet reviewed the complaint and its policy was to not comment on pending litigation.
CTE is a degenerative brain condition that has been linked to the deaths of several former NFL players, including former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson and former Cincinnati Bengal Chris Henry….
However, the suit claims that an NFL-authorized 1994 study concluded there was “no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulative effects” from multiple concussions.
The NFL only warned active players in June 2010 of the risks associated with multiple concussions and Riddell failed to warn active players until about the same time, the suit claims.
The lawsuit was filed in state court in Los Angeles, California.
Traumatic brain injury is a serious problem, especially for football players and other athletes. For that reason, as we discussed in this post, the FTC has been investigating marketing claims made by Riddell and other football helmet manufacturers.
Traumatic brain injuries, like concussions, are never “mild”–they are serious injuries that have been ignored for far too long. Hopefully, high profile personal injury lawsuits like this one will help to further raise public awareness regarding the dangers and long term effects of repeated concussions and other similar types of traumatic brain injury.