You don’t have to be a football fan to know that those men play hard and injuries, including concussions, are sometimes apart of the game. But the family of Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears player who committed suicide last year after sustaining three concussions throughout his 11-year career, feels otherwise. They have filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL claiming that the league deliberately hid information that playing football can lead to brain damage from coaches, players, and fans.
According to the lawsuit, Duerson, a Pro Bowl safety, suffered from progressive, advanced brain damage known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which his family believes could have been prevented.
“If the NFL would have taken the necessary steps to oversee and protect Dave Duerson by warning him of the dangers of head traumas. . .then (he) would not have suffered dangerous repetitive head trauma, would have recovered more rapidly, and would not have sustained permanent damage to his brain which contributed to his death,” the suit reads.
Six other former players who suffered brain damage and later committed suicide are also mentioned in the case, which is one of about a dozen that have been filed against the NFL and helmet makers since the summer, alleging that both parties failed to warn players that the gear would not prevent brain injuries. The suit directly attacks the NFL Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, charging that it concealed the link between brain trauma and permanent brain damage that can lead to death.
So far, the NFL has denied the claims, and Riddell, the co-defendant in the case, which makes most of the league’s helmets has declined to comment. A lot of players would have a suit on their hands if the NFL is forced to pay up in this instance.
Do you think Duerson’s family has a case?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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