Category Archives: Football

Mother and Her Football-Playing Son Sue Youth Football Organizations over Concussion; Defendants File Objection

The mother of a Pennsylvania youth football player and her son sued the Warwick Midget Football League, Red Rose Midget Football League (which does business as Red Rose), and several individual defendants in September, alleging they were responsible for the traumatic brain injury that the son suffered during a football game.

The injury to the plaintiff’s son, L.R. Rettew, occurred on September 17, 2017 during a game. L.R. then complained to some of the individual defendants that he was experiencing “headaches, disorientation, while also displaying signs and symptoms of a head injury and/or concussion, including dizziness, disorientation and confusion.

“Despite the complaints, the defendants named herein allowed L.R. to return to the field of play, and he suffered multiple injuries, including, but not limited to, a traumatic brain injury and concussion.”

The plaintiffs further contend that the defendants “knew, or should have known, of the risk of head injury to L.R. when allowing him to continue,,,

(Editor’s Note:The rest of this article and many others can be viewed by subscribing to Concussion Litigation Reporter)

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National Football League Veteran Wes Chandler Creates WCTE Inc. to Tackle Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Former NFL player, Wes Chandler, a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame, and most recently an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, announced today the formation of a biotechnology company named WCTE Inc. which is dedicated to the diagnosis, intervention, and cure of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

At present, the formal diagnosis of CTE can only be made after death, and there is currently no treatment available.  CTE is the cause of depression and suicide in numerous football players, according to Chandler, founder and CEO of WCTE.

“WCTE Inc. was formed because of the urgent unmet need to treat my friends and colleagues, who have sacrificed their health and their lives for popular entertainment.  Now that they need our help, it is our responsibility to be there for them,” said Chandler, who was a star receiver at the University of Florida before moving on to the NFL.  “It is my vision to identify, integrate and incorporate the latest technologies in order to provide a fighting chance for my colleagues.”

CTE has been understudied in contrast to other types of brain injuries, resulting in a time sensitive opportunity for development of intellectual property and therapies in this relatively unexplored area, according to Chandler.  In addition to the estimated $2 billion CTE market, technologies developed addressing CTE possess potential to address the substantially larger Alzheimer’s and aging market.

The company’s immediate focus falls upon three areas. First, capturing all intellectual property related to CTE through licensing/filing of patents.  Secondly, obtain ID approval to initiate a CTE clinical trial using its clinical state stem cell product WesCellTM.  Lastly, generating revenue through sales of NeuroStilbeneTM.

Assisting Chandler in organization of WCTE is Dr. Thomas Ichim, a successful biotechnology entrepreneur whose career successes include taking a stem cell company from discovery of the stem cell to FDA clearance, to sale of the company; 121 peer reviewed papers; 130 patents and patent applications; and successful development of 5 cellular therapeutics that have entered the clinic.

“I am honored to work with Mr. Chandler on helping find a cure for his colleagues and others who suffer from this devastating condition. Having known Wes for several years, I can attest he brings a fresh, multi-disciplinary, goal-oriented, approach to biotechnology. I look forward to working with him in identifying, licensing, and developing key technologies useful for treatment of CTE,” said Dr. Thomas Ichim.

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Latest Issue of Concussion Defense Reporter Highlights Industry Trends and Most Recent Litigation

(Editor’s Note: What follows is the letter from the editor of Concussion Defense Reporter, Tony Corleto of Wilson Elser. To subscribe to CDR, which is complimentary, visit https://www.concussiondefensereporter.com/)

The Surgeon General has not determined … .

A recent publicity campaign features the image of a mother helping her 10-year-old son, in football gear, light a cigarette. The media reel for that campaign shows a coach, post-game, handing out cigarettes to youth football players.  An adolescent male voice begins “Tackle football is like smoking “ and concludes “Choose flag under 14”.  In a vacuum, one might presume the Surgeon General has issued a public health warning. Wrong. It’s just the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) on its latest cycle.

On November 11, JAMA Pediatrics published the results of a two year review by a consensus panel of 11 pediatric experts in various fields (neurology, psychology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, sports and exercise, athletic training, epidemiology, prevention), to summarize current literature (1980 – 2018) and provide recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment and management of Sports Related Concussion in youth athletes. The conclusion: “There is not a recommended age or developmental stage at which contact and collision are most safely introduced for practice or competition”.  The only age specific recommendation was in ice hockey, to delay body checking until 13.

CLF has taken the campaign against youth football to state legislatures, most recently in Massachusetts and New York. Previous efforts in Illinois and California failed, we expect the latest efforts to face the same fate.  In this edition of Concussion Defense Reporter, we provide information about the proposed MA bill, including testimony from Scott Hallenbeck (USA Football), Dr. Julian Bailes and Jon Butler (Pop Warner).

Even though media remains ahead of the science, the law seems to get it. Two recent decisions denied class certification for concussion claims. In Jones v BRG (1:18-cv-07250, USDC, ND ILL, 8/1/19), district Court granted Riddell’s motion to strike class a proposed class of “All individuals who wore a Riddell helmet while participating in a High School and/or College Level football program between 1975 and the present”. Recognizing that the claims essentially sought recovery for personal injury, the court acknowledged that individual inquiries particular to each claimant’s activity, exposure and injury would predominate over any common claims about the products at issue, making individual litigation superior to class treatment.  Similarly, in Archie v Pop Warner (2:16-cv-06603, USDC, CD CA, 9/1//19) district court found that a proposed class of “All persons who enrolled their minor children in Pop Warner tackle football from 1997 to present”, for statutory false advertising claims, failed to satisfy the predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3). As in Jones, the decision turned on a finding that specific individualized inquiry would be needed for each claimant in the proposed class to determine whether they had in fact been exposed to and relied on the alleged advertisement.  This edition of Concussion Defense Reporter includes a detailed analysis of the Archie decision.

Cheerleading is again in the spotlight.  We report two decisions, one in favor of a school district and one for a university.  In a “second hit” case, Stevens v Azusa Pacific Univ. (2019 WL 2281585, Ca Ct, App., 5/29/19), the appeals court affirmed a ruling that the cheerleader assumed the risk of injury and that a qualified but uncertified coach did not “increase the risk” of harm.  In Biancorosso v Troy Comm. Cons. SD (App. Ct. Ill no. 2-18-0613 8/29/19) the appeals court upheld summary judgment for the school district, over a flier’s claim that the district was negligent or reckless because a cheer mat did not prevent her concussion when she fell out of a stunt.

Last but not least: One NCAA MDL plaintiff has dropped his case because he feels benefit from infrared light therapy Carr v NCAA, Brigham Young (1:16-cv-08581, USDC ND IL) and the Minnesota Vikings overturn an adverse worker’s compensation award Noga v Minnesota Vikings Football Club, 2019 WL 3439661, S. Ct, 2019.

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