Product Manufacturers Facing Concussion Suits, Too

Sports Industry News and Analysis

Product Manufacturers Facing Concussion Suits, Too

(Editor’s note: What follows is a brief intro to a story that appears in the July 2012 issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. Each monthly issue will feature six to eight stories on the legal strategies being deployed by practitioners in the concussion litigation space.)

By Paul D. Anderson, Editor of Concussion Litigation  Reporter

With the Concussion Era fully upon us, the market is ripe for entrepreneurs to attempt to capitalize on equipment aimed at reducing concussions. However, the buyer — and manufacturers — should beware.

Renowned neurologist, Dr. Robert Cantu, recently told NBC’s Kate Snow that there is no such thing as a “concussion-reduction device.

Dr. Cantu blasted the company, Full90 Sports, for claiming its headgear had the ability to “reduce typical impact forces by up to 50%.” Dr.Cantu said that these claims are dangerous because it gives a player a “false sense of security” and makes them play with “greater abandon.”

Congress and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) issued statements regarding the avalanche of products that claim to reduce concussions.

Last year, U.S. Senator Tom Udall requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate potentially false claims made by Riddell Helmets, Schutt Sports and other companies that sell refurbished helmets.

Mike Oliver, NOCSAE’s executive director, recently echoed  Senator Udall and Dr. Cantu’s comments: Currently,  there is no definitive scientific research linking mouth guards, head bands, supplements or other specialty products to a reduction in concussion risk or severity. For companies to suggest otherwise misleads athletes…

These remarks perked the interest of plaintiffs’ lawyers, and sparked the first-of-its-kind lawsuit via consumer-protection statutes. Though there have been several lawsuits levied against helmet manufacturers for personal injuries, this is the first to specifically attack a manufacture’s representation about concussion-reduction devices.

(to read the rest of this story in the July issue and have access to future proprietary articles, subscribe by visiting