Tag Archives: nfl
Is there a corelation between Junior Seau’s suicide and concussions he suffered during his playing career? That’s what his family as well as researchers would like to know.
According to Shawn Mitchell, San Diego Chargers chaplain, “The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn’t want to make any emotional decisions,” Mitchell informed the Los Angeles Times. “And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward.”
The medical examiner’s ruling in the case of Seau’s suicide last Wednesday is a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The absence of a suicide note makes this death even more perplexing.
Mitchell said that allowing researchers and the medical community the opportunity to examine Seau’s brain was, as the family put it, a decision “to help other individuals down the road.”
Last year, a former safety for the Chicago Bears, Dave Duerson, also took his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, ironically, to the chest. In the case of Duerson, he left behind a suicide note requesting that his brain be donated to the Boston University School of Medicine. Both the Seau and Duerson cases bear an almost uncanny similarity. They scream, “I can’t deal anymore with this. What’s happening to me?”
In the case of Duerson, it was eventually concluded by the BU School of Medicine that a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions was significant in leading to Duerson’s deep bouts of depression.
The logical choice for who studies Seau’s brain is Boston U. However, that decision has yet to be made.
The Brain Research Center at UCLA, headed by Dr. David A. Hovda, has stated that for years the medical community has known there is a corelation between brain trauma and depression.
Dr. Hovda goes on to say that, “When it happens to a person that I feel pretty confident has been exposed to repeat concussions, my first thought was, did somebody do what they could to make sure this individual knew what his exposure was in terms of concussions? What the cost was going to be after he finished his career, and what he should look out for? Was the family notified? And did he get help if he needed it?”
So I was out watching my daughter player soccer last weekend when I saw one of my fellow soccer dads pull up a chair. Now he’s a solid 6-foot-4 and I knew he played major college football. I also had an idea he played professionally. To confirm, I asked him. Sure enough, he played 5 years with an NFL team in the mid-1980s.
The next question was a little more awkward. “So are you part of a concussion lawsuit?”
“I am,” he said.
After a pause, he continued. “I just don’t want to be a burden to my wife if the symptoms from past concussion show up ten years from now.” The implication was that the window was open to make a claim, but it may not be open for long. I suspect a lot of ex-players feel that way. They genuinely care about their loved ones.
Other ex-players may see this as a way to make up for the relatively modest pensions. Some former players may be just greedy. However, many more, like Former Detroit Lion’s defensive tackle and well-known actor Alex Karras, who was the name plaintiff in a suit filed Friday against the NFL, seem to be suffering the ill effects now from past concussions.
Susan Clark, Karras’ wife of 35 years said that “Alex suffers from dementia but still enjoys many things, including watching football. But dementia prevents him from doing everyday activities such as driving, cooking, sports fishing, reading books and going to big events or traveling. His constant complaint is dizziness — the result of multiple concussions. What Alex wants is for the game of football to be made safer and allow players and their families to enjoy a healthier, happier retirement.”
The Karras suit, which includes 69 other plaintiffs and was filed by Locks Law Firm and Mitnick Law Offices, “seeks medical monitoring and cognitive health benefits as well as financial compensation for the short-term, long-term and chronic injuries that he and his fellow football players have suffered.”
There are tens of thousands of men, who have played in the National Football League.
Many of them have lined up to be plaintiffs in lawsuits that allege that the NFL either fraudulently concealed information about the dangers of concussions, or were at least negligent in not recognizing the dangers. Many more are apparently joining the party.
Earlier today, the Locks Law Firm, representing more than 72 ex-players, filed two more lawsuits against the NFL.
The first was an individual complaint filed on behalf of Greg Landry, a quarterback who played for the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Colts from 1968 to 1981 and for the Chicago Bears in 1984.
The second complaint includes 72 former NFL players. Golden Richards, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears for eight seasons, serves as the first named plaintiff in the lawsuit. Both cases were filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The two new suits bring the total number of brain injury litigation lawsuits filed by the Locks Law Firm to 11, filed on behalf of nearly 600 former players. The firm also represents the spouses of many of the former players, which number in the hundreds.
The lawsuits charge that the NFL and other defendants intentionally and fraudulently misrepresented and/or concealed medical evidence about the short and long-term risks regarding repetitive traumatic brain impacts and concussions and failed to warn players that they risked permanent brain damage if they returned to play too soon after sustaining concussive and sub-concussive injuries. The first hearing of the federal litigation, which has been transferred to and consolidated in the federal court in Philadelphia, will begin on April 25.
The plaintiffs are seeking medical monitoring, compensation, and financial recovery for the short-term, long-term, and chronic injuries, financial and intangible losses, and expenses for the individual former and present NFL players and their spouses.