Recently media stories about concussion injuries have made the headlines because of the debilitating long-term effects they can have on an individual or professional athlete. A concussion is viewed as a brain injury and for those that play sports, they want to be protected.
Last week a panel of federal judges agreed to consolidate four concussion-related lawsuits facing the National Football League into one pre-trial case. Also, it's expected that an additional 16 related lawsuits will be included into the larger suit.
Because of the commonalities between the lawsuits, The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation felt that combining the cases would eliminate duplicate lawsuits, prevent inconsistent pre-trial rulings and conserve resources of those filing the lawsuits. The panel also decided to keep the NFL and the league's official helmet provider, Riddell, together in the suit.
The lawsuit claims that because of repeated head injuries suffered while playing in the NFL, these players have suffered serious health issues after their careers including memory loss, migraine headaches and depression.
Sources suspect that the NFL will request that all concussion-related complaints be dismissed and dealt with through arbitration instead of in court.
This will be the case to watch and whichever trial comes first, will likely serve as the test case for the rest of the lawsuits. If the players win, the NFL will likely settle with the rest of the lawsuits. If the league wins the case, the remaining lawsuits would likely go away.
Traumatic brain injuries like a concussion can be difficult to diagnose especially if you were hurt and didn't know it. Most often, people will notice a change in personality or behavior. Other common changes that could signal a brain injury could include:
- The person is moody and irritable.
- They have trouble remembering dates, events or names.
- They have a hard time completing common tasks and multitasking.
If you are in a situation where you feel that a loved one has suffered a head injury, it's important that you remain patient with the person. In some instances it may take weeks after the initial accident for you to notice these changes. You will need to consult your doctor and in some cases you may need to contact an experienced attorney that specializes in traumatic brain injuries. The attorney can help you decide if you have a case and develop a plan for your situation.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Player lawsuits against NFL to be consolidated," Adam H. Beasley, Jan. 31, 2012