|NFLPA calls press conference to discuss player safety issues||02.01.13 at 9:51 am ET|
The NFL Players Association took advantage of having much of the football media in New Orleans Thursday, calling a press conference to discuss its complaints about safety issues.
Executive director DeMaurice Smith and union president Domonique Foxworth held the conference. Smith said the NFLPA will file a grievance if the NFL refuses to implement a system to verify the credentials of all team medical personnel, and brought up amendments related to player safety that the players’ union wants in the new CBA.
The union also wants the NFL to put independent neurological consultants on the sidelines during games to help diagnose and treat concussions. Earlier on Thursday, league general counsel Jeff Pash said the league expects to implement that plan next season, but Smith said the players union has not seen the proposal and details have not been confirmed.
The two sides also have yet to agree on the details of implementing blood tests for human growth hormone. Smith said the league has not agreed to using the type of independent arbitrator that Major League baseball uses, though Pash said the league recently made a new proposal to the players that he thinks will lead to an agreement.
Smith called out the NFL for locking out its officials at the start of this year, saying the use of replacement refs was “one of the most deliberate disregards of player safety that I think has occurred in the National Football League since our inception.”
|Former players say NFL hid brain injury links||06.07.12 at 2:17 pm ET|
The NFL is being accused of hiding information that links football-related head injuries to permanent brain damage of its former players, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday.
More than 80 pending cases are included, according to lawyers of former players, in the “master complaint,” which holds the NFL responsible for former players currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other neurological diseases. It also claims that the NFL glorified violence, especially though its NFL Films division.
“Let’s face it and be honest, I feel like the NFL has over the past decades — at least until ’08 or ’09 — kind of turned a blind eye to the seriousness of not only concussions … but the cumulative effect of [hits] and how these retired players are having so much difficulty in getting along in their daily lives,” said former Patriots and Eagles running back Kevin Turner, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The complaint charges that, “The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result.”
The plaintiffs include 2,138 players that say that they weren’t educated enough from the NFL about the repercussions of head injuries, according to an AP review of 81 lawsuits filed through May 25.
|Seven players file class-action lawsuit against NFL over concussion-related injuries||08.19.11 at 11:28 am ET|
Six former NFL players and one current player filed the first ever class-action lawsuit against the NFL over the league’s handling of concussions in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The players — including two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Jim McMahon — accused the league of teaching tacklers to lead with their heads, improperly treating concussions and concealing for decades the connections between football and brain injuries. The suit seeks funds for medical monitoring and care.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that while the league was not yet familiar with the suit, it would fight any claims of wrongdoing.
Another lawsuit against the NFL was filed in Los Angeles in July. In that case, 75 players alleged the NFL has concealed the dangers of concussions since the 1920s. That lawsuit also includes official NFL helmet manufacturer Riddel.
Because this new lawsuit is a class-action suit, however, it could potentially include any player who has ever suffered a concussion or head injury in the NFL.
“Our goal is much larger, perhaps more daunting,” said the players’ attorney, Larry Coben.
The other six plaintiffs are Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas; Mike Furrey, 34, wide receiver for four NFL teams since 2003; Wayne Radloff, 50, former Falcons and 49ers offensive lineman; Gerry Feehery, 51, former Eagles center; Ray Easterling, 61, former Falcons defensive back; and Steve Kiner, 64, former Cowboys linebacker.
|Report: NFL players more vulnerable to MCI, a pre-Alzheimer’s form of dementia||07.18.11 at 10:26 am ET|
A new study presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris shows that retired NFL players are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a pre-Alzheimer’s form of dementia, Time magazine’s Alice Park reports.
Unlike the effects of multiple full-blown concussions — whose connections to the degenerative neurological condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy have been heavily publicized — mild cognitive impairment has been linked to lower-impact hits, even those sustained in practice.
“It’s conceivable that by changing the ways players drill in practice, we could change things,” said Christopher Randolph, professor of neurology at Loyola University Medical Center.
Randolph said that blows to the head can split or tear the fibers linking nerve cells in the brain that enable higher-level thinking and memory. The brain builds up a reserve of backup cells, but repeated blows to the head can deplete that reserve.
Randolph also said helmets may prevent skull fractures, but the traumas that lead to MCI occur when the brain slams into the inside of the skull, something helmets can’t prevent.
The results of this study — which compared cognitive functions of retired players with healthy non-athletes of the same age and non-athletes of the same age diagnosed with MCI or Alzheimer’s Disease — are only preliminary, Randolph said. Future testing will need to take into account obesity, hypertension and diabetes, as well as genetic factors, all of which can lead to MCI.
|MLB considering 7-day disabled list to address concussions||10.22.10 at 2:26 pm ET|
Amongst endless discussion and controversy surrounding the recent enforcement of the NFL’s helmet-to-helmet policy, Major League Baseball is also considering implementing tactics to help those with concussions. The Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball may create a 7-day disabled list solely for players suffering from concussions. The policy could be implemented as soon as next season, with a 7-day DL for concussions being as a complement to the current 15- and 60-day lists used for all injuries.
The proposal will be considered in the offseason by a new concussion subcommittee under baseball’s medical advisory committee. If passed, Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB Players’ Association would have to approve the idea.
All four of the major U.S. sports have moved towards understanding and regulating concussion policies as scientific research on the health dangers of violent collisions continues to grow.
The NFL’s new stance on concussion policy led to imposed fines of at least $50,000 on three players — Steeler James Harrison, Falcon Dunta Robinson and Patriot Brandon Meriweather – after illegal helmet-to-helmet hits made last weekend. The league and Commissioner Roger Goodell are also prepared to hand suspensions to players who exhibit more of this violent conduct.
While concussion diagnosis and treatment is still an uncertain art, the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA seem to agree that the safety and long-term health of players need too be addressed.
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