March 4, 2011

NFL class action lawsuit

Filed under: Sports Law — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:16 am

Supplied via Google Images


With the Super Bowl right around the corner, the NFL is facing two class action lawsuits which revolve around damage caused by repeated blows to the head. These suits are expected to allege that the league (NFL) knew, but suppressed, knowledge of the long-term neurological risks of playing football.

The evidence that will be presented by the plaintiffs revolve around differences in a 2007 and 2010 pamphlet which include the affects of concussions. In the 2007 pamphlet it states that more than one or two concussions do not prove to have permanent problems (in an athlete) if treated properly. This is different from the 2010 pamphlet, which suggests that concussions and repeated brain injury can change your life and your families life forever.

For the defendant, they would likely argue that the players had the necessary information available to them, thus nullifying any evidence of forseeablility brought to the forefront. Furthermore, the league would also argue the fact that football players in the NFL know the risk of physical or mental injuries that could occur. This was credited in the article with a quote from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison who stated that he tries to hurt people while on the playing field, suggesting that the game is violent in nature.

Other issues in the case revolve around workers compensation, grievances and the duty of care that the CBA offers to its players.

From the information provided above, do you believe that any professional football player has the right to sue the NFL for damages when it relates to concussions? Do you think the number of concussions should play a role in this? These are the same players who do not sue when they break an arm or tear an ACL. Should physical and psychological injuries be considered the same in the court of law?


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