Attorney Takes NFL to Task in Paper

Joseph M. Hanna, a partner at Goldberg Segalla LLP, has never been one to shy away from controversial topics. He has written frequently for Hackney Publications’ various sports law periodicals on the topic of diversity.

Today, he published a paper for Westlaw that examined “the plight of NFL players suffering from concussion-related injuries” and the lingering question: “Will the NFL face liability for its arguably deficient efforts to inform players of the risks associated with football induced head trauma?”

Hanna painted a picture of scientific findings that demonstrated a link between concussion and long-term disabilities. However, the NFL Concussion Committee “denied a link between concussions and cognitive decline, claimed that more research was needed to reach a definitive conclusion, and later stated: ‘[w]e own this field.  We are not going to bow to some no-name Nigerian with some bullshit theory.’  Noting that (ironically) no committee members were neuropathologists, Omalu questioned the integrity of the NFL Committee, quipping ‘[h]ow can doctors who are not neuropathologists interpret neuropathological findings better than neuropathologists?’”

In a heavily footnoted article, Hanna wrote that “although additional studies (again in 2005 and later in 2008) reached similar conclusions, the NFL continued to ignore these findings.  Instead, during its first Concussion Summit in June 2007, the league issued a warning pamphlet to players which simply stated that ‘there is no magic number for how many concussions is too many.’  Dr. Ira Casson, the former NFL Committee’s Co-Chair, publicly discounted current research on the subject as unreliable and inconclusive.”

To read the entire article, visit:

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