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Suit claims NFL ignored warnings of brain injuries

Brain injuries resulting from concussions suffered in sports activities is a topic of importance across the country. With the increased success of the NFL, football has become the most popular sport in America. Now that the league has finally settled its labor issues and the lockout is over, many are looking forward to a new professional season starting in September.

Here in Franklin County, the Ohio State University will soon begin another "Big Ten" pigskin season. However, a new lawsuit filed against the NFL and Riddel promises to cause the issue of brain injuries reverberate at all levels of organized play.

The class-action suit, filed in Los Angeles on behalf of 75 former NFL players, claims the NFL as well as Riddell (headquartered in Ohio and the maker of NFL football helmets since 1989), have known since the 1920's about the dangerous effects of concussions.

The gist of the claim is that both defendants have known "for decades" that repeated blows to the head can result in long term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia and depression. Three members of the class-action group, former NFL players, suffered brain injuries and subsequently committed suicide. Another died in July after being diagnosed with dementia.

The most common Riddell helmet worn in the NFL (and widely used in high schools and colleges) is the model VSR4, which received such low grades in a 2010 Virginia Tech University study that the researchers warned against wearing it.

The lawsuit, now in its early stages, will proceed to discovery to examine the claims made on behalf of the players as well as the defense offered by the NFL and Riddell.

Football is a dangerous sport and concussions are serious injuries. We have seen safety rules intensify for athletes suffering concussions, not only in the NFL but in other professional and college sports as well.

Brain injuries are often life-threatening, a frightening prospect not only to the victim but to the family as well. It is important to fully investigate each incident medically and for safety. Any athlete suffering a concussion naturally worries about its long term effect. Personal injury law provides for monetary damages for victims who have suffered due to the negligence of others. A Franklin County attorney knowledgeable in the medical and legal aspects of brain injuries may offer some support and guidance to those that believe the injury could have been avoided.

Source: Plastics News, "Injury suit plagues NFL, helmet maker," Rich Thomaselli, July 28, 2011

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