Michael Kaplen, a New York based attorney concentrating his practice on representing victims of brain trauma, has concerns about U.S.District Court Judge Anita Brody’s decision to send the NFL/Ex-players’ concussion issue to mediation.
For one, it perpetuates, in his view, “the long standing conspiracy by the National Football League, its teams and physicians to conceal the fact that football is a concussion delivery system with potential lifelong devastating consequences to players.”
Secondly, bringing both parties “to the negotiating table will prevent factual discovery.”
In Kaplen’s words, factual discovery is “the only mechanism that could compel the league, and its collaborators, to reveal incriminating documents and be compelled to provide sworn testimony about what they knew, when they knew it, and how they contrived to keep this information from players.” Obviously, this is a significant point.
Such “potential revelations” are significant to “not only to the players who have been deceived and are confronted by the lifelong physical, emotional and behavioral consequences of brain injury, but additionally for young athletes who admire and revere professional athletes and presume that the NFL takes care of its own.”
Another concern of Kaplen’s is the inclusion of confidentiality clauses in any mediated settlement. It allows the league to continue to hide the facts; “that a concussion is a brain injury; that the lingering consequences of even a single concussion can plague a player for his lifetime; that multiple concussions complicate and slow the speed of any potential recovery and increase the chances of devastating long term disability.”
Another stickler is the failure of player reported symptoms—those who do so, risk being cut, therefore the athlete hides his injury. According to Kaplen, “any mediated settlement of the present case must protect future players by removing this economic disincentive and insuring that any player who suffers a brain injury retains the full monetary benefit of his contract.”
Kaplen goes on to say that, as far as medical personnel is concerned, “league doctor shopping and the corruption of accepted medical principles cannot continue to be condoned.”
All of this comes down to the truth–it counts! The pure, unadulterated truth, no less. And the public demands that.