NFL Concussions: Players Filing Class Actions

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By Jason Beahm on February 04, 2011 5:47 AM

The buzz about NFL concussions is growing. With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, it's a good time to talk about NFL lawsuits.

Two class action lawsuits are being prepared against the NFL by players with serious brain injuries. In response, the league has announced that it is going to take a deeper look at concussions in the NFL, ESPN reports. This season, the league handed out some big fines for big hits and intentional shots to the head. This comes as medical evidence showing the damage of head injuries caused by NFL concussions continues to grow.

The NFL's emphasis on penalizing the NFL's hard hits (along with HDTV) have increased attention to the brain damage caused by hits to the head, according to Slate. According to the brewing lawsuits, the NFL failed to warn players of the neurological problems that result from constant blows to the head, even with protective helmets.

"There's no question that HD television is remarkable ... But it also, at times, may give us a view of something that we didn't always have before, and in some cases it may be shocking to people, I guess," said Art Rooney II, the president of the Pittsburgh Steelers, The New Yorker reports.

Back to the Slate article, they say that the players are likely to make two main arguments. One, that the league knew of the dangers of NFL concussions and actively concealed them from the players, and two, a kind of negligence argument, that the league might not have known of the risks of concussions in the NFL, but reasonably should have known.

Certifying NFL players as a class will certainly be a challenge for the plaintiff's lawyers, but nevertheless, it will be a very interesting case to watch.

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