Patrick Hruby: The NFL Is Using Sickest Retirees as Hostages

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve just been given permission to post another scathing analysis on more details of the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement offer from Patrick Hruby. Just how low will the League go in trying to use a divide-and-conquer strategy by picking a few players with the worst cases as hostages? Another good reason to Opt Out of the Settlement? If this doesn’t make your blood boil… Tell us how you feel about this new low.

The NFL Is Using Sickest Retirees as Hostages

September 17, 2014
Written By: Patrick Hruby

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Don Brady: The Everchanging World of Concussions

Dr. Don Brady was on BlogTalkRadio’s Beyond the Cheers, hosted by Dave Ferguson.

From Children to the Pros: The Everchanging World of Concussions

The professional leagues of many sports are not necessarily good places to find role -models for young children.

The way that some pros handle their injuries, including concussions, doesn’t in many ways promote what many parents, teachers and communities are trying to instill in our youth today.

We usually rely upon the concussion knowledge of the athlete in order to recognize when something is wrong. However, many (up to 70% of high school football players) will not admit when they are concussed. Some will continue to play and unfortunately for some, they may unknowingly suffer from either post concussion syndrome or second impact syndrome.

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Want numbers? We got numbers! NFL Actuarial Studies for the Concussion Lawsuit

NumbersWe just found copies of the actuarial studies that were filed earlier this week by the NFL with the court and being analyzed by the media. We hope to have more of our own analysis from our legal experts as we find time to go through these filings. And please – if any of our readers find anything interesting feel free to post your observations in the comments below to share for some open discussion.

In the meantime, here’s one of the better early overviews from Dan Diamond over at Forbes:

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Gordon Johnson: NFL Admits Football More Dangerous Than It Should Have Been

EDITOR’S NOTE: From our friend, brain injury attorney Gordon Johnson:

Roger Goodell Admits to Football’s “Dangerous Techniques”

By Gordon Johnson

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One of the key allegations against the NFL is the class action concussion case was that the NFL had a paternalistic duty to its players to keep them safe. The case against the NFL then went on to claim that the NFL knew that the game created an unreasonable risk of brain injury, that it was dangerous to the brains of its players.

I have been asserting for months now that the settlement was a PR move, not an actual acknowledgement that more than 20 or so former players suffered serious brain damage as a result of the constant contact involved. Today, Roger Goodell has once again demonstrated that they never took the litigation against them seriously. With the case still short of approval by the Federal courts, Goodell has basically admitted the most key of the plaintiffs’ allegations. On the Mike and Mike Show on ESPN, September 4, 2014, Goodell said in response to Mike Greenberg’s question about rule changes to limit helmet to helmet contact:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(Click the PLAY button to listen to the ESPN call-in from Goodell.)

Well I think players have adjusted, the coaches have adjusted, the game has adjusted and the game is better for it. I think the game is safer and better than it ever has been. There have always been changes in techniques throughout our evolution, and that has been great for the game in making sure that we keep our players as healthy as possible, to protect them and prevent them from injuries and the game has really thrived. We have seen it.The game has never been more popular.

We are seeing obviously less injuries, as you point out, specific injuries particularly when we have taken those “dangerous techniques” out that we clearly can demonstrate that lead to an injury. So we think the game is better and safer than it has been and that is a good thing for everybody.

If he was being coached by his lawyers and not his PR people, Goodell just made a statement that admits so much of the allegations against the league, including:

  • The game is dangerous;
  • That the NFL understood that there are dangerous techniques that lead to an injury, specific injuries, brain injuries;
  • That it had not made such dangerous techniques illegal until recent rule changes;
  • That the league has a duty to keep its players as healthy as possible;
  • That the league has a duty to protect them from injuries.

Like so many who think that TBI was invented with the Iraq War, Goodell makes these statements as if brain injury and football is something new. Of course it isn’t. Or there wouldn’t be elderly players with so many problems. Some might argue that the dangers of brain damage in football were understood before 2007 but that is absurd. All through the 1990′s, there was a growing consensus on sport and concussion and return-to-play issues. More significantly, the dangers of dementia from head contact in sport has been well described since the 1930′s.

And today, news broke that Junior Seau’s family was opting out of the NFL settlement. Hopefully, others will too, which  may put pressure on the League to either compensate more than a couple dozen players or pay the price for knowingly failing to “keep our players as healthy as possible to protect” them.

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John Hogan: Some Thoughts and Concerns About the NFL Concussion Settlement

…from a Disability Attorney’s Perspective

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend and long-time advocate for retired players, John Hogan, has been a successful practicing attorney specializing in Social Security and Disability cases from his office in Atlanta. John has represented many retired players and has first-hand experience in dealing with the NFL and the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retired NFL Players Pension Plan (and their lawyers) over the years. John was most gracious in taking the time to compose this very detailed and thoughtful overview from his personal perspective on the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement offer that’s currently being considered in Judge Anita Brody’s US District Court in Philadelphia. Here’s your Labor Day weekend reading.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be legal advice to anyone concerning their own situation or case under the NFL concussion settlement. Please consult your own attorney(s) for legal advice about your individual case.

crapshootThe disclaimer out of the way, I have been asked by numerous retired player friends and NFL clients what my thoughts are regarding the proposed NFL concussion settlement. What follows is just that – some thoughts and concerns I have from my perspective as an attorney who represents former players in their claims for disability benefits both from the Social Security Administration and the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan.

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NFL for Dummies

How_to_Screw_EveryonePerhaps Judge Brody might want to find a copy of this book before she makes her final ruling on the NFL Concussion settlement offer.

This week started off with back-to-back news stories that only reinforce what most retired players have already learned the hard way over the years: The NFL NEVER, EVER pays for anything. Yesterday a post on Business Insurance analyzed just where all the money will likely come from to pay for the concussion settlement: Insurance companies and fans. Sure, the NFL will likely end up seeing higher policy costs over time but higher ticket prices and broadcast fees should cover all of that without impacting their bottom line at all. And without a full trial and disclosure and discovery, there will be absolutely no damages or admission of guilt.

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Great NFL Concussion Denial Timeline from Deadspin

Came across this timeline of the NFL’s years of denial on football-related concussions all the way to the lawsuits. We just realized that Deadspin embedded our Dr. No No No video clip that we’d posted from Oct. 2009 on YouTube when we first went after him.

A Timeline Of Concussion Science And NFL Denial

The now-settled lawsuits brought by thousands of former players hinged on the notion that the NFL ignored decades of research on the degenerative long-term effects of brain trauma, and didn’t take enough steps to protect its employees. Here’s a helpful (ahem, Pete Prisco), but necessarily incomplete timeline of concussion research and the NFL’s response. Some of this relies on the excellent timeline put together by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Malcolm Burnley.

1933: The NCAA’s medical handbook is distributed to all member schools. It warns that concussions are treated too lightly, and recommends that concussed players receive rest and constant supervision, and not be allowed to play or practice until symptoms have been gone for 48 hours. For symptoms lasting longer than 48 hours, it recommends players “not be permitted to compete for 21 days or longer, if at all.”

1937: At its annual meeting, the American Football Coaches Association declares that concussed players should immediately be taken out of a game. “Sports demanding personal contact should be eliminated after an individual has suffered a concussion.”

1952: A study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine urges players who suffer three concussions to leave football forever for their own safety.

You can see the view the rest of the Timeline by clicking HERE.

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Update on Dryer vs NFL Films: NFL Files for Summary Judgment

The NFL moved for summary judgment and the Dryer plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment.  The Plaintiffs’ brief was filed under seal so it’s currently not available publicly yet. There is a hearing set for October 2, 2014 at 9 am US District Court in St. Paul Minnesota in front of Judge Magnuson.

We uploaded a copy of the NFL’s 73-page motion for summary judgment to Scribd for downloading, reading and printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close).

Memo in Support of MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by NFL in Dryer vs NFL Films

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Game On! NFL Films Trial Update

judge-gavelDoes anyone still remember the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit? We had thousands of retired players filing their Opt Out forms with the court after the NFL submitted their “best” offer which included stealing all your image rights for life if you decided to take their settlement offer. Well, finally the trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 4th 2014 and the lead plaintiffs are Fred Dryer, Elvin Bethea and Ed White, while the other three original plaintiffs – Jim Marshall, Joe Senser and Dan Pastorini – took a bullet by staying in the original group to continue fighting from the inside.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fred Dryer’s presentation from our 2013 Football Veterans Conference added to the end of this post 8:15 PST.

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Ricky Williams Invites George Visger to Jupiter Clinic

EDITOR’S NOTE: George Visger was invited by Ricky Williams to join him and three other retired football players at the Upledger Institute in Jupiter Florida for a week of intensive alternative treatments for their physical and mental disabilities from the game.

It was terrible! :-D 28 therapists from all over the world (Scotland, Canada etc.) and only five of us to fend them off!

It was truly unbelievable what they did for all of us. Would have up to four therapists working on you at once. Actually got rid of my tinitus for a couple days, headaches gone, increased range of motion in my right shoulder from 38 degrees to nearly 180 (was scheduled for reconstruction on it back in May)!


George sent this picture of the crew – Left to right:
Eric Williams (my Stockton Homeboy)
Terrell Smith
Marcus Koch
Ricky Williams
George Visger
George n Ricky