A class action has been filed on behalf of reportedly 2,138 former NFL players against the NFL. They claim the NFL failed to disclose known links of head trauma and permanent brain injury. The June 7th class action consolidates 81 lawsuits that were filed through May 25 against the leagu. The total number of plaintiffs in those cases is 3,356, which includes not only players, but players’ spouses, families, or other representatives.
In addition, Nathaniel Abraham et al. v. NFL was filed on behalf of more than 60 players in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 7 on the same issue . On June 8, two similar lawsuits were filed in Houston, Texas. The first is on behalf of 14 former players, including, Danny White, Jerry LeVias, John Niland and Darryl Talley. The second, Kevin William et al. v. NFL, also is on behalf of 14 players. Each named plaintiff is in his 30s.
In response to the litany of allegations that it failed to provide adequate protection for its players, the NFL gave the following statement:
“The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league’s many actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.”
Clearly, concussions and the long-term effects of head-related trauma will continue to be debated in the media, on the field, and in the courtroom. The topic is particularly poignant following the suicides of beloved former NFL players Dave Duerson and, more recently, Junior Seau. Despite the numerous lawsuits that have been filed, none of the courts have issued a substantive ruling with regard to the plaintiffs’ claims. In all likelihood, these issues will be litigated for many years to come.