We have written a few posts about the brain injurys professional players may face when they suffer too many blows to the head. You may remember one post last April which described the mental health problems an NFL player struggled with after retiring from football.
Sadly, he is not the only person to suffer a brain injury after hitting his head too many times during games or practice. In fact, the problem has become so rampant that 75 former NFL players are suing the NFL, claiming that the league intentionally hid information about brain injurys from players for more than 90 years.
According to the lawsuit, “the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects on a player’s brain” when he suffered a concussion. The lawsuit also states that the NFL “concealed these facts from coaches, trainers, players and the public” until June of 2010.
Because of the serious impact brain injurys can have on a person’s emotional health, attitude and disposition, many of the players who are named in the lawsuit are also listing their wives as co-plaintiffs. The lawsuit also alleges that the NFL denied that multiple concussions can affect memory and cause dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a degenerative brain condition that shrinks brain tissue and can cause memory loss, depression, impulsive behavior and rage. The deaths of two players – Dave Duerson and Chris Henry – both died from complications of CTE.
Although each of the 75 players in the lawsuit has suffered injuries from multiple concussions, they are also suing the NFL for another reason. In 1994, the NFL authorized a study which concluded that there was “no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulative effects” from multiple concussions.
Source: ESPN, NFL, “Ex-players sue NFL over concussions,” The Associated Press, 20 July 2011