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August 3, 2011

Former Players Sue NFL for Concealing Concussion Risks

A few weeks ago we commented on a study linking mild brain injury to dementia in professional athletes and war veterans.

CNN now reports that 75 former professional football players are suing the NFL for failing to protect players from the long-term effects of concussions. The players say that the league knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions but concealed the information from players, coaches, trainers and others until June 2010.

Riddell Inc., the official helmet brand of the NFL, has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The players are suing the defendants for negligence. “For decades, defendants have known that multiple blows to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia, depression…and its related symptoms,” says the 86-page lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.

The players accuse the NFL of engaging in “a scheme of fraud and deceit” by having members of the NFL’s Brain Injury Committee “deny knowledge of a link between concussion and cognitive decline.”

In hockey, the NHL launched a new protocol for Concussion Evaluation and Management to help protect those who suffer head injuries on the ice. The new protocol is not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.