News & Insights reported last week on a new head injury lawsuit filed by former NFL players alleging misconduct on the part of league officials. The new injury lawsuit was filed on behalf of twelve former players against the National Football League claiming that the league did not properly inform them of the actual risks associated with concussions. In addition, the suit further alleges that the league officials used a drug repeatedly which was shown to increase the likelihood of brain bleeding in players who had already experienced head injuries. These accusations are similar to a few other lawsuits that have recently been filed against both the NFL and the NCAA related to their apparent lack of proper response to the prevention and treatment of brain injuries at the collegiate and professionals level.
In this latest suit, the players allege that the league officials had access to “overwhelming medical evidence” which suggested that on-field concussions led directly to long-term brain injuries that would have consequences for victims for their entire lives-long after their playing days were over. The plaintiffs suggest that the NFL could have protected players from some of these injuries or, at the very least, properly warned them of the specific dangers. The lawsuit claims that the league failed on both accounts, leading to severe consequences for many now-retired athletes.
While other brain injury lawsuits against the NFL have suggested that the league failed to do all it could have to prevent head injuries, this latest suit is the first to bring in the use of the drug Toradol. Toradol is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory that many players were given to reduce pain before a game. The drug apparently masked pain from injury-allowing players to continue in a game that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to play in. However, medical researchers have found that the drug also induces cerebral bleeding (bleeding on the brain). That bleeding in turn significantly increases the risk that the player will experience a long-term brain injury. This serious negative effect makes it particularly disturbing to learn that many former players admit that they lined up in “cattle call” fashion to receive injections of the drug. All former players who were named in this suit claim that they suffer from a range of problems as a result of the NFL’s actions. Those include memory issues, depression, migraines, and other mental impairments.
The suit further alleges that the NFL was guilty of negligence, misrepresentation, and concealment as it related to these issues. In rebuttal, NFL officials have refuted all charges that they intentionally mislead players, and they explained that they continue to make safety a priority. Apparently this lawsuit was supposed to be filed months ago, but it was delayed as the involved players participated in a global traumatic brain injury compensation fund to help players hurt by these actions. However, the terms agreed to in a new collective bargaining agreement that was reached this year are different from those originally part of the compensation fund, prompting the filing of this matter.
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