Category Archives: Litigation

Players Respond to NFL’s Motion to Dismiss, Take Aim at CBA Argument

The plaintiffs in the NFL concussion lawsuit took direct aim yesterday at the NFL’s contention that their claim is a labor issue that should be governed by the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, rather than the legal system.

The plaintiffs were responding in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to the NFL’s recent motion to dismiss.

The NFL had argued in August that the CBA covers safety and health rules, leaving individual teams and their doctors to decide about players’ conditions and when they should return to play.

The players countered Wednesday that “a party cannot shirk its own duty by pointing to the duties of others.” Further, “the NFL deceived club doctors (and players) by insisting repeatedly that head trauma carried little long-term risk for football players.”

Attorneys for the players elaborated on the last point, writing that “the NFL knew that players were exposed to risks of severe neurological injuries yet did nothing to prevent them. The NFL failed to warn players about the dangers of concussive and sub-concussive impacts.”

They did not mince words when putting the concussion problem in context—“On the NFL’s watch, football has become the site of perhaps the gravest health crisis in the history of sports.”

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November Issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter Goes Live

It’s that time of month when we break out a new issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter.

Here’s the table of contents:

Court Sides with Cheerleader in Claim against Coach

A federal judge as granted summary judgment to a school district, which was sued by a cheerleader, who was injured in practice almost a decade ago. However, the court left intact her claim against the coach, finding that a jury could reasonably conclude that the risk of significant injury from a fall onto the hard flooring surface was foreseeable and a fairly direct result of (the coach’s) decision to proceed with the stunt in the absence of appropriate matting.

Cutting Edge Information Provided at Penn State Concussion Conference

By Gary Wolensky, ESQ. On October 11 and 12, Penn State University hosted a Concussion in Athletics Conference.  Expert physicians, scientists, and researchers from a variety of disciplines descended on Happy Valley in order to present the latest research in understanding, diagnosing and treating concussions, and potential reforms to minimize the risk of mild traumatic brain injuries. While this short article could not possibly begin to provide even a cursory summary of the proceedings, the presentation of Dr. Robert Cantu, Cofounder of the Sports Legacy Institute, does stand out.

ImPACT’s Reliability Challenged in Court

By Paul Anderson, Editor. ImPACT dominates the market when it comes to sideline assessment and concussion evaluation. In fact, it has become so popular its use is encouraged in Rhode Island’s return-to-play law. According to ImPACT’s website, it is “the most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system.” The software has become the go-to tool to determine whether an athlete should be allowed to return-to-play after suffering a concussion. Recently, though, ImPACT has drawn fire from the scientific community for failing to identify concussions and prematurely allowing athletes to return-to-play.

The NFL Concussion Crisis and the Doctor-Patient Relationship

By Andrew M. Blecher MD.  If you are reading this then you are already well aware of the current concussion crisis in the NFL.  No matter where on the spectrum your opinions lie regarding this topic, there is one question that still remains:  How did we get here?  Surely if something has gone wrong then there must be someone to blame for it.  Was it the league’s fault?  The coaches?  The players?  The doctors?  Maybe it is the injury itself that’s to blame?  Perhaps it was just the perfect storm of a number of factors that put us in this situation?  To truly get to the bottom of this, it is important to have a better understanding of the doctor-patient relationship.

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Disability Claim of Football Player, Suffering from Past Concussions, Other Injuries

By Kelly Mulcahy. On September 11, 2012 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected a man’s claim for expansive disability benefits yet again. In a published opinion, the court effectively ended extensive litigation that included an arbitration, a lawsuit against the NFL retirement plan, and several appeals. A former player for the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins from 1987-1996, he sought “Football Degenerative” disability benefits.

Maine Cheerleader Sues School District and Coach After Suffering Concussion

A former high school cheerleader, who suffered a concussion almost three years ago after she reportedly fell 20 feet and suffered a concussion during a cheerleading practice, has sued her coach and the school district in a negligence lawsuit.

Parental Decisions Can Undercut Good Concussion Laws

By Tommy Dean, ATC, LAT. You can’t turn on the TV today or open the newspaper without hearing about concussions. It seems like over the last few years there have been more superstar athletes who have suffered this injury, especially from those who played “back in the day” and are now coming forward and bringing their multitude of recent struggles to the forefront that have been caused by multiple concussions. But the problem doesn’t start in the NFL. It starts at the youth level. It starts at home.

Youth Sports Executive: Pop Warner Incident Could Have Been Prevented

By Cadie Carroll. In the wake of a recent incident resulting in the injury of five young athletes and the suspension of several Central Massachusetts Pop Warner coaches and league presidents, one youth football industry executive suggested to Concussion Litigation Reporter that such incidents could be prevented if the minimum age for playing tackle football is pushed to 14. “We know from numerous studies that youth concussions are growing at an alarming rate,” said Brian Sanders, President and COO of i9 Sports, a national youth sports organization. “The best way to prevent children from being injured in football is … .”

Where State Athletic Associations Stand on Concussions

(Editor’s note: What follows is a sampling of responses to key questions asked of state athletic association officials this fall about today’s concussions issues.)

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Court Sides with Concussed Cheerleader in Claim against Coach

A federal judge has granted summary judgment to a school district, which was sued by a cheerleader, who was injured in practice back in 2004.

However, the court left intact her claim against the coach, finding that a jury could reasonably conclude that the risk of significant injury from a fall onto the hard floor surface was foreseeable and a fairly direct result of the coach’s decision to proceed without proper matting.

The high school cheerleading squad was attempting to perform an advanced stunt, which was being introduced to the squad for the first time on that day.

The court noted that there were multiple spotters that day as the squad tried several times to perform the stunt. On the last attempt, the plaintiff flew outside the perimeter of her base and her spotters, striking her head and suffering a concussion.

This decision will be reported in depth in the November issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter next month. Subscribe by visiting:

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