WHAT FORMER PLAYERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (MTBI) AND FOOTBALL
Have I Suffered MTBI? What Are The Symptoms?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, concussions or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) can occur from a blow to the head or a blow to the body that causes the head to move quickly back and forth. The CDC says that even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, an individual who has suffered MTBI typically has difficulty sleeping; as well as various cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings , frustration and depression.
Why Are Former Players Are Filing Suit Against the NFL?
Many former players are suffering from insomnia, short term memory loss, concentration problems and even depression. They believe the NFL had a duty to share the risks of concussions and “dings” so that they could have made more informed decisions about when to return to play and the risks posed to their health and future. Additionally, many former players have questions about the NFL’s actions surrounding concussion research in the 1990s, the NFL’s relationship with Riddell helmets, the NFL’s lack of uniform concussion management policies and the NFL’s use of team physicians who were employed by ownership and not well educated in concussion management.
I Believe I Have Symptoms. How Soon Do I Have To Decide To File A Lawsuit?
It is important that former players act quickly. The law allows only a set amount of time to bring a cause of action for injury. Most similar lawsuits have a two year window to file a law suit from the time the injured individual had reasonable knowledge of the injury.
The NFL first changed its stance on the effects of MTBI/ concussion and began to acknowledge and warn players of the potential for permanent harm from concussion in July 2010. To avoid attempts by the NFL to exclude plaintiffs, any players with symptoms should file as soon as possible and certainly before July 1, 2012.
What Type of Lawyer Should I Hire?
If you have symptoms of MTBI and you want to protect your future, the most important decision you will make is who to hire as your attorney. The NFL is a large and powerful organization. This litigation will be costly and complicated. It is important to hire an attorney who has been successful in federal court and against large corporations like the NFL. It is also important to hire an attorney who has successfully tried multiple MTBI cases and won large jury verdicts as well as large settlements. Lastly, the attorney should take your case on “contingency;” meaning the expenses and attorneys fees will be paid only if there is a successful verdict or settlement. It is important to hire an attorney with the financial resources and determination to “stay in the game” and fight a long, expensive battle on your behalf. If you have further questions, please call 619.237.3490 for a free consultation.
About John Gomez
John Gomez attended Yale Law School after a successful college football career so he understands the realities of the game. He began his legal career at Latham & Watkins, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, before becoming a United States Attorney. John has extensive trial experience in state and federal court on behalf of the government and numerous Fortune 500 companies. He founded The Gomez Firm to bring expert legal representation to the average American who was injured by the actions of large companies. Individuals can rarely afford the type of representation that the government and corporate America can pay for and John’s goal was to level the playing field. Since 2000 John has won over $200 million on behalf of his clients. He has been named “Trial Lawyer of the Year” and “Best Lawyer In America.” John quickly made a name for himself by being willing to stay in the fight long after other lawyers would give up. This persistence earned one of John’s clients the largest wrongful death jury verdict in California history; a staggering $106 million. Over the past four years John has repeatedly won verdicts over a million dollars in cases where the defending companies offered absolutely nothing to settle. John is also an expert in MTBI. He recently tried a MTBI case where Starbucks offered $75,000 to settle. John pushed the case to trial and his client was awarded $7.5 million. John handles sensitive matters with class and unrivaled professionalism.
HISTORY OF CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT IN THE NFL
- For decades the medical community knew that repeated blows to the head caused long term brain damage in boxers.
- In 1994 after a string of incidents, the NFL decided to research MTBI and its effects. Strangely, Commissioner Tagliabue named a rheumatologist (Dr. Pellman), not a neurologist, to run the study. Dr. Pellman admitted that prior to the study most team physicians relied on “on-field anecdotes” to treat concussions and the purpose of the study was to provide facts and direction for team physicians.
- Strangely, the results of the NFL’s 1994 study contradicted commonplace concussion management protocols and other research being conducted by neurologists across the country. The NFL’s published findings stated that concussions “were not serious injuries” and doctors should use their discretion rather than follow an “arbitrary, rigid” concussion management system. This shocked many in the medical community and contradicted NCAA studies and practices.
- Beginning in 2002, autopsies of former players’ brains showed an unusual build up of dangerous proteins believed to be the result of repeated concussions and sub-concussive events. The condition, named CTE, is marked by memory loss, insomnia, speech difficulties, impulse control and depression. Researchers notified the NFL and published their findings.
- In 2007, the NFL published its own brochures for players that stated that research “has not shown that having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is managed properly.” The brochure did not mention the research on CTE and NFL sponsored researchers continued to dispute that concussions caused brain damage in dead players.
- In 2009, Congress held hearings on the NFL’s management of concussions. The fact that the NFL funded its own research that stood in such contrast to what mainstream medicine understood about MTBI/concussions led Congress to compare the NFL’s actions to the tobacco industry of the 1990s.
- In July 2010, less than one year after denying that concussions can lead to permanent damage, the NFL dramatically changed course. They put up posters in locker rooms that cautioned its players that multiple concussions could cause permanent brain damage, memory loss, personality changes, depression and dementia. Concussions, the posters said, “can change your life and your family’s life forever.”
- As more information comes to light, over 2,000 players have filed suit. The Gomez Firm is representing players with substantial NFL careers who want their case handled with discretion and professionalism.