The lawsuit filed against the NFL by former professional football players has been one of the biggest stories in professional sports over the last several years. Many former players have suffered the repercussions associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”), and the lawsuit they filed in conjunction with other players suffering various traumatic brain injuries has netted a $1 billion settlement – a settlement which the United States Supreme Court has twice been asked to review. Players, fans, parents, and lawmakers have joined in calling on the NFL to do more to address the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries in the sport. Recently, The New York Times has reported that the NFL has tried to answer that call by spending $100 million in addition to a previous $100 million for the development of new technology and research related to head injuries.
Purpose of Additional Funds
After immense pressure and public outcry that previous funds have been used for self-serving purposes instead of addressing issues they were meant to address, the NFL has promised an additional $100 million in funding which it says will be used for “independent medical research and engineering advances” that are meant to address “prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries; enhance medical protocols; and further improve the way the game is taught and played by all who love it.” Previous funding had been used for new equipment and long-term studies related to the impact of repeated concussions and head traumas. Critics have pointed out that funding for helmet improvements has done little to improve player safety because helmets are primarily meant to prevent skull fractures and do little to address the concern of repeated concussion and related side effects. To avoid continuing criticism of the way the new funds will be used, the NFL has also said that details related to the use of the new funding will be shared publicly.