Riddell Takes Huge Hit with Multi-Million Dollar Verdict in Colorado Concussion Lawsuit

A jury in Las Animas County, Colorado, returned an $11.5 million verdict against helmet manufacturer Riddell and several school officials in a case involving a teen football player who was injured in 2008.  The Ridolfi family filed a lawsuit after their son Brett suffered a concussion during high school football practice.  Brett wasn’t immediately taken to the hospital, and later suffered permanent brain damage and paralysis on his left side.  The family brought suit against Riddell and others to recover for Brett’s injuries. The jury…
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Former NFL Players Fighting to Stay in Court in Hearing on Concussion Suit

On April 9, 2013, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody heard oral arguments in the ongoing NFL concussion litigation venued in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  The suit essentially accuses the League of downplaying the risks of concussions and other playing-related head injuries and their effect on later-life cognitive decline.  Multiple pending suits were condensed into a single multi-district litigation earlier last year and now includes over 4,200 former NFL players as plaintiffs. The outcome of today’s hearing could decide whether the lawsuit will continue in…
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Were the NFL & Riddell Out of Bounds for Rejecting Competitor’s Potentially Concussion Reducing Helmet?

Industrial designer Phil Straus began thinking of ways to lessen the impact of football head injuries and concussions in the late 1980s.  After several years of work Straus developed a prototype of the “ProCap” in 1989 by attaching a half-inch-thick urethane mold on top of traditional football helmets.  His work showed signs of promise in lab tests, and later gained acceptance by a number of NFL players who swore that the invention functioned as advertised.  Mark Kelso, former Buffalo Bills free safety, swore by the…
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NFL Goes 0 for 2 Against Insurance Companies in Court

The National Football League is now 0-2. It lost yet another round on the legal gridiron last week when New York State Supreme Court Judge, Jeffrey K. Oing, ruled that the lawsuit between the NFL and its insurance companies could proceed in NY.  This is despite the fact that the NFL filed a similar lawsuit in California first. This echoes a previous ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. who held last fall that California was the wrong venue to deal…
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NFL Teams Up with GE to Fund New Concussion Research

On March 11, 2013, the National Football League and the General Electric Co. announced that they are teaming up to create a Head Health Initiative that will provide $60 million dollars to assist leading neurologists in researching traumatic brain injuries and developing technology able to monitor these ailments.  $40 million will go towards developing imaging technologies, and the remaining $20 million will be available to others who seek to prevent, identify, and develop treatments for brain injuries.  Athletic apparel company Under Armour will also be…
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NCAA Program Allows “Exceptional” Athletes to Hedge Against Loss of Future Earning Potential

“Prediction is Very Difficult, Especially about the Future” – Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr may not have had sports in mind when he said this but, yes, predicting the future is hard and that is exactly what makes sports so exciting. Whether it’s the big, unexpected play with only seconds left on the clock or a Cinderella story at a National Championship – unpredictability is why we watch the game. Despite the difficulty, we like to predict the future of star athletes. One big question…
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Club Fight Remix: Drake and Chris Brown Move Battle to the Courtroom

Last June, Drake and Chris Brown found themselves on opposite sides of a New York City nightclub scuffle.  Now, according to reports by TMZ, they are suing each other over the fight in the hopes of receiving a judicial determination of who was responsible for the brawl.  The fight began after an argument broke out over the pop singer Rihanna.  Eventually, punches and bottles were thrown, leaving the club in shambles and Brown with a gash on his chin.  After a model named Romain Julien…
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Science of Sports: NFLPA and Harvard to Team Up for Study on Treatment of Football Injuries

Harvard University and the National Football League Players Association (“NFLPA”) are negotiating a deal with the NFL seeking a $100 million grant for the purpose of studying, diagnosing, and treating injuries and ailments suffered by players as a result of their football careers. Dr. Lee Nadler, the Harvard Medical School Dean for clinical and translational research, attested to the groundbreaking nature of the proposed project, noting “[n]o one has ever studied the players [themselves] before.  There have been postmortem studies looking at the brains of…
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Concussion Link to Seau Suicide?

Junior Seau committed suicide nearly eight months ago via self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.  Now, reports composed by three independent neurologists have confirmed that Seau – the 20 year NFL veteran linebacker and long-time San Diego Charger – suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or “CTE.”  As described by an ESPN report, this condition is a “progressive disease associated with repeated head trauma.”   CTE has only recently been identified as a potential side effect of playing professional football, a game where players often experience repeated…
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Will Trainers Become the NFL’s New MVPs in Concussion Fight?

Liability concerns stemming from the NFL’s massive multi-district concussion litigation have been affecting changes which may permanently alter the way the game of football is played.  Essentially, the main suit pits former players against the League, accusing the NFL of failing to warn them of the long term risks of concussions and their effect on later-life cognitive decline. Recent changes made by the NFL include alterations to playing surfaces, equipment, and long standing game-play rules.  For example, the League has shortened the kick-off play to…
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