Concussion Litigation

Controversy Continues Over NFL Medical Issues

The following article was written by Spencer Wingate.

Seemingly each month brings about a new case with players suing the NFL due to medical problems. Recently, a suit was filed by three hundred players stating they should have been better educated over the effects of head injuries. Former NFL players Patrick Surtain, Jamal Lewis, and Tony Dorsett are three of the more prominent athletes that have been amongst players filing suits against the league due to concussion related aliments.

Chris Corbellini of the Daily is reporting the NFL has decided to take action. Their legal team is reportedly in the process of preparing a waiver to be inserted with players’ contracts beginning with the NFL Draft in April. It will stipulate players can not sue for health related problems due to head injuries. The waiver purportedly states the league will do the best they can to educate players on concussions and head injuries, but they must agree to not resort to legal action.

The Daily received responses from both NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello and NFLPA General Counsel Richard Berthelsen regarding the issue. Aiello claims the league is not attempting to insert any waiver, while Berthelsen states the NFLPA would adamantly fight any such endeavor. The NFLPA feels like the league is continuing to run away from  its obligations to players. The NFL contends it has been taking action to combat problems with concussions. They recently aired a message during the Super Bowl detailing rule changes to make play safer.

The waiver idea seems to produce two schools of thought. Football is an incredibly physical game. Concussions are not a new phenomenon; they are part of the culture of football that may never go away. Medical studies have now begun to show their devastating effects. Does that mean the players must accept the dangers and agree to put their safety on the line without proper compensation? Signing a wavier is agreeing to relinquish your rights way down the line. The risks and physicality of the game can not be refuted. The league is responsible for their current and former workers’ safety, but to what end? Educating players about the dangers is a necessary first step. Now decisions must be made regarding liability with medical issues.