Tagged with “National Football League”
On December 22, Fred Upton, Chair of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee announced that his committee with commence a “broad review” of concussion science in 2016. Read More
Sony Pictures has made a movie about the devastating long term effects of concussion in professional football players, and the NFL’s efforts to cover this up. Will Smith stars as Nigerian doctor Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who first discovered the prevalence in players of a degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). A trailer for the movie has just been released and can be seen here.
This movie promises to bring even greater public attention to the growing body of evidence, discussed in many past posts in this blog, demonstrating that concussion can in some cases trigger a chronic degenerative process with permanent consequences. Read More
Good News for Future Players, Bad News for Past and Current Players Left to Seek Compensation on an Individual Basis
On July 29, 2014, the NCAA and representatives of college athletes announced an agreement to settle a concussion class action lawsuit that came on the heels of a similar lawsuit against the NFL. The settlement will need to be approved by the Court, a process that could take several months. It is anticipated that several former athletes experiencing the long-term effects of concussions suffered in college sports will object to the settlement, since it does not provide any direct compensation – unlike the proposed settlement in the NFL case. Players with concussion claims are left to pursue those claims on an individual basis. Read More
In August, 2013, the NFL announced that it had reached a $765 million dollar settlement of claims by more than 4,500 players alleging that they were suffering from long-term consequences of concussions that the NFL had known about for years, hid from players, and failed to minimize by establishing appropriate protocols for return to play. The alleged cover-up by the NFL, with co-conspirators in the medical community, was recently the subject of an extensively researched PBS Frontline special titled “League of Denial.”
By settling the players’ claims early in the litigation it appeared that the league would avoid further examination of what the league knew and when it knew about the long-term effects of concussion. However, several recent developments indicate that these issues will likely be examined further. The judge overseeing the litigation has appointed a “special master” to make recommendations concerning the settlement and the Brain Injury Association of America has petitioned to intervene in the litigation to make sure that the settlement takes proper account of the
“progressive physical, psychiatric and cognitive disease processes that are caused and/or accelerated by brain injury, but may not manifest in clinically significant symptoms on initial presentation.”
The human brain is complex. Every brain injury is unique. But nearly every person who suffers a brain injury experiences that frightening feeling of “I am not myself anymore.” In mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) cases, specifically, this feeling may recede over a period of weeks or months. But for others, it does not.
Whether the symptoms are permanent, improve, or get worse, the reasons for these differences are constantly researched—looking for ways to explain, prevent, and/or heal traumatic brain injuries. Several new studies on mild brain injury are examining factors ranging from genetic differences to differences in emotional make-up in order to understand why these differences exist. New research is leading to new approaches in treatment and rehabilitation, as well as prevention.
Evidence of permanent brain damage resulting from concussion in sports is driving nationwide changes in policy. While over 4000 former National Football League players have filed lawsuits against the NFL for failing to take appropriate steps to protect them from permanent brain damage caused by multiple concussions, it’s not just a professional affair. An estimated 300,000 amateur sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States.
Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 24 years. At least one player sustains a mild concussion in nearly every American football game! Read More
The “BRAIN” initiative, which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, is already underway at the National Institute of Health (NIH). And, on April 2, 2013 President Obama announced that his 2014 budget will include $110 million in funding to advance the initiative, which supports human brain research that could be used to treat a range of neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injury (TBI).
I expect the additional funds to elevate the project’s urgency, as it would be a joint effort of the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation along with other private and public entities. If this initiative goes forward, it also promises to augment work already underway at other research centers throughout the country.