Jim McMahon
A group of former NFL players, including former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon (pictured), are suing the NFL for concealing the dangers of concussions. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A lawsuit has been filed against the National Football League in Philadelphia for covering up the dangers of concussions and other brain trauma sustained in games. The suit is seeking class action status and includes several former players, among them Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon.

Former Chicago Bears star joins suit against NFL

A group of seven former and one current NFL player have filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania federal court against the National Football League, according to USA Today. The suit alleges that the NFL knowingly concealed the dangers of concussions and the post-career effects.

Among the players suing the NFL is Jim McMahon, former quarterback for the Chicago Bears. McMahon led the Bears to victory in Super Bowl 20, and took part in recording the “Super Bowl Shuffle.” McMahon, according to CBS, says he is constantly “in a daze” and has problems with short-term memory after suffering five concussions. Another player named in the suit, Wayne Radloff, was forced to quit his career as a realtor due to the onset of dementia believed to be related to concussions sustained during his NFL playing days.

Second NFL lawsuit this summer

The suit is seeking class action status, as the players involved in the suit want other players affected by brain trauma to join the lawsuit. Riddell, the company that manufactures helmets for the NFL, is also named as a plaintiff.

This is the second time a suit has been filed against the National Football League over concussions, according to CBS, as a group of more than 70 former players filed a lawsuit in California last month. That suit contends the NFL has been covering up and conspiring to conceal the effects of head trauma from the 1920s until 2010, when the league first began talking about risks to players from concussions. Riddell is also named in that suit. Many of the players in the California suit, as well as the Philadelphia suit, include their spouses as plaintiffs.

NFL coming to grips with concussions

Similar to professional boxers, long-time NFL players are at risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, due to continually sustaining brain trauma. The NFL began issuing guidelines concerning concussions in 2007, according to Bloomberg, but many former players protest that the league doesn’t do enough to assist those with the most debilitating injuries.

In 2010, the NFL admitted that concussions put former players at risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, memory loss, dementia and other neurological symptoms. Former professional football players are especially at risk for developing mild cognitive impairment, commonly referred to as MCI. MCI is a common precursor to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2008 survey by the NFL of former players over the age of 50 included surveys for their spouses to complete. Of those who responded, it was noted that 35 percent had some form of cognitive impairment.


USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2011-08-19-concussions-lawsuit_n.htm

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/19/sportsline/main20094566.shtml

Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-18/ex-players-suit-says-nfl-ignores-head-injuries-to-sate-fans-appetites.html

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31751_162-20081009-10391697.html

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