NFL’s Record Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injuries

posted by Crane-Station

Former National Football League players have reached a 914 million dollar settlement with the NFL for traumatic brain injuries. The settlement proposal is subject to court approval.

Description of this YouTube:

Once a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and a Super Bowl champion, Terry Tautolo has spent his retirement from football in and out of homelessness. His family and friends blame his tragic decline and battle with substance abuse on the multiple concussions he sustained during his 9-year NFL career

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a sudden or violent blow to the head and affects nearly 1.5 million people each year in the US. While TBI can be mild and many recover, it can also cause permanent disability or death. The average football player player takes 1500 to 2000 hits to the head, and the more than 2000 players who joined in the suit are claiming that the NFL concealed information linking football-related injuries to long-term brain damage. A collision between two players in this (violent) sport results in incredible force.

The NFL vehemently denies that it willfully concealed the reality of what was happening to players exposed to head trauma, lest it lose fans and profit. Star linebacker Junior Seau a former player who experienced serious TBI complications, committed suicide. He is not alone. NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself.

The proposed settlement agreement to be presented in Federal Court for signing details:

The amount includes $675 million to compensate players for a specified list of injuries, $75 million for medical tests, $10 million for educational programs promoting player safety and injury prevention specifically in youth football and $4 million for administrative expenses related to class notices. The NFL also agreed to pay an additional $37.5 million if needed for players plus attorney’s fees of $112.5 million, according to papers filed in federal court in Philadelphia on Monday. A judge previously calculated the deal at $765 million.

Traumatic brain injury can also happen to service members exposed to the shock of an explosion. No shrapnel has to enter the head to cause these injuries; they are caused by the shock wave of a blast.

The leading causes of TBI in the US are falls and motor vehicle accidents. In the general population (ie, non-military and professional sports), TBI mostly affects people over 75, due to falls, and people 17- 25, due to accidents.


cross-posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL

23 Responses to NFL’s Record Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injuries

  1. MDH says:

    Baseball represents the culture of pre-WW2 or pre-Cold War America wherein a motley crew of individuals, each going their own way, are molded into a team. A successful baseball team is the antithesis of militarization. My father managed baseball and told me that the key to success was figuring out what made each player tick and use psychology on them. Although it is a team game, each act in the drama is individual. In the field or at bat, one must always relax and let the game {hits or outs} come to them. One time, at first base, the other team had the bases loaded with one out and a great contact hitter at the plate. So I kind of left an opening down the line that I would lean back to as the pitcher kicked and dealt the ball. Anyhow, the batter smoked a rope down the RF line that I dove and caught as I toed the bag. Inning over just like that. The point is that you can leave opportunities that might bear fruit, but once you try to make things happen, errors result. It is called pressing.

    Football seems to be a sport more akin to the current authoritarianism and militarization of our society. Teamwork and unified effort wherein the star may be asked to sacrifice glory in order to win are often the right move. In BB, a guy who hits 3 homers a year will not be allowed to hit away in the ninth inning because his “glory” is beating the pitcher mano on mano. In FB, an obscure TE might get to catch the winning TD pass because the opposing D is rolling the coverage to a WR who has 15 TD catches for the season. IOW, individual acts are supported by others on the team. The military works the same way. In FB, one can ramp up intensity {press} to advantage. Probably due to the game being against a clock rather than a series on individual steps mandated by outs.

    I did not have the body for football.

    In retrospect, that is a good thing. At 54, I walk with a great stride and have no trouble with my knees, hips or back. So I can still go out and hit golf balls with a nice full swing.

    I do have a lot of respect for the ex-footballers who come to my gym. They tend to be iron animals with the kind of dedication I like to see.

    Pro sports require top rate athletes.

    We had a gentleman coming to the gym who had been a pro Cricket player in England. The guy was about 6′ 0″ @ 180lbs and could do 400lbs deadlifts with perfect Olympic form for 12 reps.

    We also have a couple of ex-MMA fighters.

    I like my gym.

    We get people from all cultures.

  2. ed nelson says:

    Ok, maybe Baseball as America’s signature sports game, has somehow lost its appeal, when that was the game!…

    Over the decades, Football got real big. If I got it right, mainly it started in some university somewhere.

    Somebody somewhere preferred it to America’s main game.

    Baseball is a game that employs the skills of everybody. You might have one of many abilities and not be able to utter good English, but then, that’s all over again like detcha vu…

    One guy has excellent vision, he can catch a fly, another guy has both a strong arm, and can put it over. And all the players get a chance to hit the ball.


    Well so now, the main game is using the grotesquely over size to batter who ever is to be battered. I give you that these are horrendously talented people, that is not the point. But the game of Football vs. Baseball, well, It is really who has the biggest monster!

    Well getting battered, it’s not a sport like ole times, it’s pugelistic,
    it’s a war type a deal… who has the biggest military, and has the hugest monster, wins, until they write in a… happy ending?…

  3. Mary Davis says:

    Thank you Professor and Crane. He is not 100 percent medical. We have to go to an outside medical facility for his therapies because the VA refuse to give him any more therapies. They say he will never completely recover, but without therapy his body will surely decline. Our next step is a lawyer, as soon as I get enough strength. Thank you both for your concern.

  4. Mary Davis says:

    I hope I’m not out of order, but since we are discussing traumatic brain injury I hope it’s ok. My husband suffered a severe TBI 25 years ago while in the marines at Camp Penleton. His car went over a clift, he was thrown out of car and hit his head on a tree. He was in a coma for one month and was not expected to live.
    The accident left him with continuing seizures (controlled by medications), short memory, and a limp in his walk.

    In 2009 he suffered a CVA (stroke). The stroke left him unable to walk or talk despite repeated therapies. Despite all this, the VA refuses to give him 100 percent service connected disability. The VA doctors claim that an old brain injury does not cause a stroke. Of course we disagree, but frankly we are tried of fighting them.

    Any advice from a fellow veteran would be greatly appreciated. He is currently 70 percent service connected with 100 percent unemployable.

    • I do hope you get a reply, Mary, I am so sorry, and thank you for sharing this. The way we do our veterans is shameful. It is sad that we even have to have these conversations. He should be able to ask for, and get, the best medical care possible.

    • You’re not out of order.

      I honestly don’t know the answer and all I can think of to say is do what you’re doing and try to contact at least 3 lawyers who are familiar with veteran’s legal issues. See what they have to say and go from there.

      I wish both of you the best.

  5. towerflower says:

    Football always has been a very physical sport. Concussions have always been known to be bad for you, yet Terry Tautolo continued to subject his brain to this for what? The fame? The money? Just about every sport has some sort of risk associated with it. Why don’t they just have these players sign their contracts with a risk agreement with it. “I know that if I play I could sustain serious medical/mental injuries or death.”

    You know there will be players who will chase the $ and still play despite the risks, just like you have race car drivers who will still get behind the wheel of a car knowing that any race could be their last.

    • I don’t agree.

      Yes, people have generally known that concussions are bad for people, however, I don’t believe they had any idea how bad until recently. I know that I didn’t and I was a big fan of football for many years until I got into baseball. The NFL had information quantifying the amount of damage over the long term, but they did not disclose that information until recently. A parent or a child who wants to play football cannot quantify and reasonably assess the risk of permanent harm and disability without that information.

      At least players and coaches now know that using your head like a battering ram is a guaranteed ticket to hell, no matter how tough you are.

  6. Boyd says:

    I love football, my dad played at Penn State. However they do not have to play. A good friend of mine is a very good soccer player, was almost pro-level. He avoids headers. I asked Why? It hurts his head! Therefore don’t tackle with your head fool. No coach teaches that.

    I was taught to make sure you tackle , the hit was a bonus if you could get it in, today it’s the big HIT , and I watch the running backs continue on for another 15 yards because they don’t tackle.

    Also notice how fast the game is now , well they’ve taken their pads off, look at them! I don’t see hip pads or knee pads on a lot of these guys. next complaint I can’t walk at age 40.

    But now, there will be some compensation and they’ve all been informed so let’s see how many Players stop playing.

    • The beginning of my migraine headaches was a soccer injury, when I was 17. I usually played fullback, or midfield, but on this occasion I subbed in for goalie. Anyhow, I fell on top of the ball. The forward from the other team mistook my head for the ball, and kicked it. Although I continued to play for many years, family tells me to this day that that head injury did change things. Somewhere along the line an EEG revealed seizure activity. And you’d think soccer was not really contact, like football.

    • racerrodig says:

      I believe a new NFL bylaw was enacted for next season where they all must hear knee pads of some sort. When I played (1969 – 72 HS & 73 – 78 & 82 – 84 semi – pro) you had to wear knee pads of some sort & “girdle pads” Some were minimum protection and most of the offensive & defensive lineman & linebackers wore all there was to be worn. Some wore the horse shoe (or doubled) pad around the neck and you couldn’t see 1 sq. inch of bare skin other than their face. That was bad ass !!

      What years did your dad play……we had several guys from my HS play at Penn State.

  7. racerrodig says:

    Having played 13 years of organized full contact football, I can say this is a step in the right direction. Is it enough ?? Only time will tell. When I read about the players who have had serious or repeated head contact, I can only wince. I am thankful that I, and my teammates, all safety first coaches. They coached to win….and we did a lot of that, but never at the cost of real injury. We were never coached to inflict injury either. We were taught how to tackle and how to be tackled. Sometimes you need to know when to give up so you can get up.

    Tackling techniques seem to be lost today. In fact, I marvel at how poor tackling is when it is so easy to master. Those “big blow” hits are the root of the problem. Then there was the Sean Payton issue….need I say more ??

  8. bettykath says:

    This is good news. I especially like the $10 million for educational programs promoting player safety and injury prevention specifically in youth football.

    I just finished a jigsaw puzzle of the Colosseum in Rome (which I visited in 1984) and as I thought about the blood games played there and the stadium full of shouting, cheering and jeering fans, it reminded me of the football stadiums. There are a lot of similarities – the “locker” rooms beneath the stands, the special seats with covers to protect the dignitaries from the weather, the arena, and, of course, the games to keep the populace distracted.

    • I am so glad you mention the blood games. I was racking my brain as I wrote this, but I think that went on for 400 years, something like that? Anyhow, our football today seems very similar. Full disclosure: I am a football fan, but there is very definitely a dark side to it.

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