This month the movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith, will open in theaters across the country, tackling head on the issue of head injuries among NFL football players. The film chronicles the work of Nigerian-born forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who identified and reported the first case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a pro football player while conducting an autopsy of Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster in 2005. The film also highlights Omalu’s struggle to increase awareness of football’s dangers amidst significant pushback from the NFL, which attempted to discredit Omalu and his medical findings. As we have previously reported, CTE has been linked with a number of lifelong medical problems, including depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and increased risk of stroke. The suicides of former football players Junior Seau, Dave Deurson and Ray Easterling have all been linked to long-term health problems from CTE. Moreover, a person who suffers one concussion is up to four times more likely to sustain a second concussion, which can place a person at an increased risk for learning difficulties and other neuropsychological difficulties. In April 2015, a federal judge approved a potential $1-billion settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against the NFL by thousands of former players who accused the league of concealing information about CTE and the dangers of concussions. The NFL made no admission of guilt under the terms of the settlement. The movie will come on the heels of a startling announcement last month by Kathie Lee Gifford that her late husband, former NFL superstar Frank Gifford, suffered from CTE caused by injuries to the brain sustained on the football field. The NFL’s response to the film remains to be seen. According to the Los Angeles Times.
When asked in September to comment on “Concussion,” the league told the New York Times in a statement, in part, “We are encouraged by the ongoing focus on the critical issue of player health and safety. We have no higher priority.” In recent years, the NFL has introduced rules and procedures aimed at protecting players from concussions. Still, serious questions remain about the league’s handling of the issue, as highlighted in a recent game in which St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum was kept on the field after sustaining what was later determined to be a concussion.
At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago head injury lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims of head injuries and their families. If a concussion or other head injury was caused by a car accident, sports injury, or negligence, we will advocate on your behalf for maximum financial recovery. Contact the Chicago head injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.