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November 21, 2012

NFL Gives Mixed Messages Regarding Concussion Injuries

New documentation has now been brought forward showing that the “NFL’s retirement board awarded disability payments to at least three former players after concluding that football caused their crippling brain injuries.”

We love our football, but what happens when the players aren’t protected when doing their job? There are now nearly 4000 ex-NFL players involved in the lawsuit against the NFL. This lawsuit alleges that the NFL knew of the danger of repetitive head injuries but didn’t put adequate measures in place for players who suffered concussions and since retiring have been affected by brain diseases. But the NFL says that they didn’t know about the effects of head injury.

Seems that the NFL is telling two different stories. Reports issued between 2003 and 2009 state that “no NFL player has ever experienced chronic brain damage from concussions,” even though the league previously awarded the disability payouts for brain injuries.

ESPN received formerly undisclosed documents showing that over two million dollars was given to Hall of Fame inductee Mike Webster in 1999. But the surprise comes from the board’s decision that Webster had sustained his brain injuries while he was an active player.

Bob Fitzsimmons, Webster’s lawyer for trial, says that these documents are “pretty devastating evidence…that trumps anything [else] they say.” But the NFL representatives say that the retirement board does not represent the NFL or the NFL Players Association and acts as an independent body. However, it is the NFL that pays the player’s disability so awarding monetary benefits while remaining adamant that there isn’t a link between brain injury and football leaves many unanswered questions from the NFL.

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