Fines Drop, but Study Finds Dangerous Hits Still Prevalent in NFL

A recent study by the AP analyzed the rate at which NFL players experience dangerous hits by reviewing 549 penalties called through the first 11 weeks of the 2013 football season.  It found that over the first 162 games of the year, 156 of the penalties studied involved contact with the head and neck.  Statistically, this means that nearly once per game, an NFL player receives a blow to the head or neck that could have serious health and/or career consequences.  The numbers also revealed…
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Ex-Players Sue Kansas City Chiefs Over Concussions

The Kansas City Chiefs are the latest target of concussion litigation.  On December 3, 2013, five former members of the NFL team sued for damages related to head injuries. The case was filed in a Missouri state court on Tuesday by Alexander Cooper, Joseph Phillips, Kevin Porter, Leonard Griffin, and Christopher Martin.  It is the first concussion lawsuit filed against an NFL team, rather than the league. The players allege similar complaints to those in the suit settled earlier this year.  They are suing on…
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Is it the NHL’s Turn to Take a Hit on Concussions?

On November 25, the National Hockey League was sued by 10 former players in a class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.  Plaintiffs – which include NHL alumni such as Gary Leeman, Curt Bennett and Richie Dunn – assert that the NHL hasn’t done enough to protect players from the dangers posed by concussions. Similar to the several thousand plaintiffs who recently settled the concussion litigation against the NFL (for $765 million), these former NHL alums assert that “The NHL’s…
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The NCAA Faces Another Concussion Lawsuit

The number of class-action lawsuits pertaining to concussions filed against the NCAA is now at five. Attorneys for former Kansas fullback Christopher Powell filed the most recent suit in U.S. District Court in Western Missouri on November 18 alleging that the NCAA failed in its duty to protect its athletes from the concussion/head trauma hazards of football and are seeking damages for the chronic physical ailments Powell is suffering almost two decades after he finished his collegiate career. The lawsuit claims that Powell, who played…
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NFL Just Can’t Outrun the Concussion Lawsuits

No matter how hard the NFL tries to get away from the concussion lawsuits, they won’t go away. Most recently, former Chicago Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass, and former Northwestern player, John Cornell, are suing the NFL and helmet manufacture Riddell. On November 4, 2013, the two former players filed suit alleging concussion-related injuries resulting from their time on the field. Douglass, 66, was quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1969 to 1975. He later went on to play for the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans…
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Did Concussion Lawsuits Deal a Fatal Blow to Helmet Manufacturer’s Deal with the NFL?

Riddell, Inc. was contractually granted the rights to be the official helmet supplier of the NFL in perpetuity in 1989, over 20 years ago.  However, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the NFL had negotiated to end its business relationship with the helmet manufacturer at the end of the 2013 NFL season. Riddell initially resisted the NFL’s withdrawal from their contractual relationship, but was ultimately unsuccessful in thwarting the NFL’s designs.  A statement made by Roger Goodell at a youth…
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NCAA Will Try Mediation to “Soften the Blow” of Second Concussion Case

The NCAA has agreed to mediate another concussion case pending against it, according to an October 18, 2013 filing. Last month, Chris Walker filed the case against the NCAA contending that the organization failed to protect student-athletes from concussions.  Walker, a former defensive end for the University of Tennessee, is seeking class action status for all former NCAA football players.  The parties agreed to mediation of the claims.  Retired U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips will over see the mediation set to take place on February…
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Concussion Controversy: Is the NHL Next?

As previously reported by the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider, the NFL’s recent settlement of the concussion class action brought by former pro players, the pending suits by former college football players against the NCAA and helmet manufacturer Riddell, and the wrongful death action by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, among others, all beg the question: When — not if — will hockey see a rash of concussion-related litigation? Both the…
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NCAA and Riddell Hit Head On With Concussion Case

Two former college football players “hit” the NCAA with another concussion case.  This comes just one week after it agreed to mediate concussion claims in another pending case.  All told, the NCAA now has three potential class action suits pending against it regarding concussion claims. Former Washington and Oregon quarterback, John DuRocher, and former Washington safety, Darin Harris, filed the suit in an Indiana federal court.  They are seeking over $5 million in damages for the repeated head injuries they sustained while playing.  According to…
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NCAA Agrees to Mediate Concussion Claims

Former federal judge Layn Phillips is heading back to mediation with parties over concussion claims.  This time he will preside over claims by former college football players against the NCAA. The suit was filed two years ago by former Eastern Illinois player Adrian Arrington and three others.  Arrington, now 27, suffers from seizures that he alleges are a product of repeated head trauma suffered while playing as a defensive back.  The players, who are seeking class action status, are asking for unspecified money damages, long…
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