NFL seeks larger (court) audience

Ex-Charger Ken Neil filed originally in state court, league seeks federal justice

The National Football League and a group of related entities, including equipment manufacturers, moved June 3 to have a concussion-related suit tried in U.S. District Court, instead of Superior Court. The defendants, who were served in early May, argue that players' head-injury suits properly belong in federal court.

The suit by Ken Neil, who played for the Chargers in 1984, as well as the Jets and the Oilers, says that he suffered multiple concussions that were improperly diagnosed and improperly treated during his career. He was not warned by the league or the other defendnts of long-term concussion risks, he argues.

"The NFL has mythologized violence through the media," says the suit, "to glorify the brutality and ferocity of NFL football." The suit lists a number of videos glorifying violence produced by NFL Films, such as The Best of Thunder and Destruction — NFL's Hardest Hits, of 1989. Neil's suit argues that, for many decades, medical professionals knew the dangers of concussions. The NFL knew, too, argues the suit.

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It's not merely that the equipment fails to protect, the equipment actually injures those struck by the helmet or padding in the course of play. The players have an excellent case. Sad that we need lawyers to reform a sport played by ten year olds. This is just the start, there are busted knees and broken bones as well.

Psycholizard: Neil's suit has some powerful information, such as how the NFL through the years has glamorized violence, while having knowledge about concussions that it kept from players. Best, Don Bauder

It would be interesting to see if many team physicians end up testifying. I think the team physicians are intrinsically in a position of gross conflict of interest - one interest being the well-being of the team the other interest being the well-being of the player.

I'm not sure how to remedy this but maybe the NFLPA should insist that any time a player is injured or has a head trauma that player should be seen by a physician who is bound by confidentiality to not provide information to the league.

ImJustABill: Yes, I agree: team physicians have a conflict of interest. Are their loyalties to the team that pays them or to the health of the players they serve? Yes, a player who gets a concussion should be seen immediately by a doctor who has no financial or other ties to the team or the league, and who will keep the information confidential. He should reveal the information to the player's family, I suspect. Best, Don Bauder

"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone" THAT should be what determines their loyalty. If a physician, any physician, can't abide by that they have no business being a physician. Period. End of story!

danfogel: That is the creed. But there is also greed. Best, Don Bauder

Helmet makers might go bankrupt when high school, college, and Pop Warner players sue. The injuries caused by their products are painfully obvious. They might have made billions on constant safety upgrades over the years, but instead chose denial and lawsuits. Concussion is just part of it, helmets and pads cause injury to any part of the body they contact.

Psycholizard: You are absolutely right. Concussions are only one critical problem. Some former pros can barely walk in their retirement because of knee injuries, in particular. Best, Don Bauder

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