The National Football League has been accused of knowing about the potential for its players to experience brain injuries and not acting on it in the past. But a new lawsuit may be the largest and most-organized of these complaints. More than 80 pending lawsuits from former NFL athletes have been consolidated into a master complaint, one that includes more than 2,100 players.
According to the suit, the NFL has mythologized and glorified violence through the media, despite being aware of the potential consequences of such violence, including severe brain injuries. The complaint goes on, accusing the NFL of knowing full-well of the health risks that players would be exposed to after repetitive blows including long-term brain damage and cognitive decline.
Plaintiffs are seeking to hold the NFL responsible for the care of former players that have fallen victim to neurological conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Players that have not shown symptoms of such conditions yet are worried that they will in the future and are seeking medical monitoring so that the NFL can be held accountable in their cases, as well.
Reportedly, the NFL is reviewing the filing of the complaint. A statement from the league pointed towards the priorities of the NFL, including player safety. According to officials, any allegations made that suggest the league has been misleading players is untrue. In support of this statement, the NFL has provided players with a plethora of medical benefits including joint replacement, spine treatment programs, neurological evaluations, assisted living partnerships, prescription programs, life insurance program, long-term care insurance and a Medicare supplement program.
One program even provides funding to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Records indicate that the NFL has spent more than $1 billion on pension, disability and medical benefits for retired players. Despite this, players from all over the country are part of the complaint.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “NFL brain injury lawsuit includes 2,138 players,” MaryClaire Dale, June 7, 2012