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[washington examiner]Vernon Maxwell vs NFL

Discussion in 'Football: NFL, College, High School' started by tinman, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    May 9, 1999
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    Thom Loverro: Maxwell v. NFL case could hit league hard
    By: Thom Loverro | Examiner Sports Columnist | Follow him @thomloverro | 07/27/11 8:05 PM

    Former Redskins defensive back Vernon Dean, left, is part of a group of 75 former players that filed a suit in a California court against the NFL and Riddell Inc.

    Lost in all the furor surrounding the final days of the NFL lockout settlement last week was a development that could have a significant impact on the $9 billion industry the owners and players are divvying up.

    A group of 75 former players filed a suit in a California court against the NFL and football helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., saying that the league and the company concealed data about the dangers of concussions.

    The case is called Maxwell v. NFL. It is named for Vernon Maxwell, a linebacker who played from 1983 to 1989 for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. One of the players listed as a plaintiff is former Redskins cornerback Vernon Dean.

    Maxwell, Dean and players such as former Miami Dolphins receiver Mark Duper are seeking "unspecified damages" from the NFL and Riddell, which manufacturers the helmets the league uses supposedly to protect players from head injuries.

    "For decades, defendants have known that multiple blows to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia and depression," the complaint states.

    It may have been lost in the news shuffle, but you can be sure the NFL was aware such a lawsuit was coming -- and is fearful of the repercussions.

    If you don't think so, please note one of the components of the settlement between the NFL and the players -- the one that limits the amount of hitting teams can do in practice by reducing the number of contact drills a coach can use with his team.

    This is probably the most significant nonfinancial piece of the new labor agreement, considering that the NFL is a coaches league and this agreement clearly crosses into the coaching domain.

    It illustrates that the NFL recognizes that there is a head injury problem within its industry and that it had better take major steps to address it, although I suspect the steps it needs to take -- expand the rosters to reduce the pressure to put players with concussions back on the field too quickly -- is one the owners are not yet willing to take.

    The common rebuttal among fans is that the game is a violent one and that players should know the risks of playing such a violent game.

    But the question here is about when the NFL knew about the long-term risks.

    In 2004, the NFL Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury said it found "no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulative effects" from multiple concussions. But in June 2010, the NFL acknowledged that concussions can lead to dementia, memory loss, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and related symptoms. And now the deal to reduce hitting in practice.

    The suit claimed the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions on players' brains and that these effects were concealed until 2010.

    You will see players questioned about what they were told, as well as coaches and team doctors questioned about what they told their players to protect this $9 billion industry.

    Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/sport...-nfl-case-could-hit-league-hard#ixzz1Ukn3Xpeg

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