A group of 75 former NFL players sued the NFL last week for ignoring and obscuring evidence that football-related head injuries lead to cognitive decline.”This action arises from the [NFL’s] failure to warn and protect NFL players such as plaintiffs against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions,” the suit states.
The players hired Thomas Girardi — the lawyer who won a $333 million settlement against Pacific Gas and Electric in the “Erin Brockovic case” — to litigate the suit.
In a piece on Slate yesterday, John Culhane compared the suit to the battle against big tobacco decades ago:
Girardi is mounting a similar strategy, accusing the NFL’s oxymoronically named Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury of warping and misrepresenting the best science in an effort to obscure the connection between concussions and long-term brain injuries.
In 2006, two members of the committee infamously told the journal Neurological Focus that the fact that players returned to the field shortly after suffering concussions proved that “mild [traumatic brain injuries] in professional football are not serious injuries.”
The lawsuit faces numerous legal hurdles. But whether it had legs or not, this is just the latest sign that awareness of the effects of concussions is growing both inside and outside the sport.
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