NFL Brain Injury Lawsuit Raises Public Awareness of Dangers of Concussion

by John McKiggan

The New York Times recently reported that 75 former professional football players from the NFL have filed a claim against the National Football League claiming the league was aware that concussions could cause long term brain injury and that the league failed to warn players and properly treat their injuries.

Recently there have been a number of stories in the media surrounding the dangers of concussion and minor traumatic brain injury. Mostly spurred by injuries to professional athletes. See for example:

Hockey Players Losing More Time Due To Concussions

Brain Injury Claims: Female athletes more susceptible to brain injury

25% of Junior Hockey Players Suffer Brain Injuries: Ontario Medical Study

Lawsuit First to Allege Conspriracy?

However, so far as I am aware, this is the first lawsuit to allege that any professional sport organization was aware of the long term dangers of concussions and concealed that information from athletes.

Recent Changes

There is no doubt that part of the NFL’s defense will be the recent efforts it has made to increase awareness of the dangers of concussions. However, the medical profession has known for decades that concussion can have serious long term consequences.

The long term consequences of concussion can be seen in the recent report that Sydney Crosby (who suffered a concussion last season) is still not certain if he will be able to return to play when the season opens this year.

Even more tragically, is the example of former Chicago Bears player David Duerson who committed suicide. An autopsy showed that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a medical condition brought on by repeated blows to the head. The condition is better known to the public as boxer’s dementia.

While there is no way to know what the outcome of the NFL brain litigation will be, I hope that it will at least have the effect of raising public awareness about the dangers of sports related concussions.

Brain Injury Litigation Challenging

Brain injuries can be difficult to detect and difficult to prove in personal injury claims. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote Brain Matter: The Survivor’s Guide to Brain Injury Claims.

I wrote the book to help educate the public about the challenges faced by survivors of traumatic brain injury. The book is for sale on and I am donating all of the proceeds of sales from Amazon to the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia.

However, I will send a copy of the book, at no charge, to anyone who contacts me through this blog, just put “Brain Matter” in the subject line and send me your mailing address.

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