The NFL approved a historic personal injury settlement for ex-players, but many legal battles loom.
For decades, head injuries were an issue that few in the football community were willing to talk about. Football players, after years of experiencing severe and repeated blows to the head on the field, would slowly begin to deteriorate, and over the years lose basic functions. Their stories were tragic, but until recently they suffered in silence.
In recent years, however, extensive scientific research has demonstrated a link between football and traumatic brain injury. And, as it often does, litigation came only a step or two behind the science. Current and former football players began to sue the NFL starting around 2011 on the grounds that the organization had known of the brain injury risks associated with football, but not properly informed players. These cases were consolidated into a single class action lawsuit, and in 2015 the NFL agreed to a $1 billion settlement, to be distributed among the plaintiffs according to their level of personal injury. For one injury victim in Dallas, the battle continues as they struggle to keep the compensation awarded as lawyers fight of dues.
Of course, even with this settlement, all is not well for the ex-players. They still face the lifelong effects of traumatic brain injuries. Furthermore, there remain some disputes between the players and some of their attorneys, over how much of the settlement the attorneys will get. Still, this settlement is a start, and will hopefully pave the way for further justice for the victims of head injuries.
What types of sports injuries are the most common in Texas?
Fortunately, the most sports injuries are far less serious than traumatic brain injuries. The most common sports injuries are muscle strains and sprains, while other common injuries include dislocations, fractures, tears, and knee and elbow injuries. Most of these injuries, while extremely inconvenient in the short term, can heal fairly easily if given proper medical treatment, and most involve the limbs and extremities, rather than the brain.
Of course, all injuries should be taken seriously. To prevent injuries, stretch and warm up before working out or playing sports, and use proper equipment and technique. However, if you have suffered a sports injury, and you believe that another party may be at fault, you should not be shy in seeking compensation for your injury.
How much time do long-term head injuries need to be diagnosed?
Head injuries are particularly pernicious, not just because of their effects, but because they can take a long time to manifest after the initial trauma occurs. Many of the current NFL players, for instance, did not notice the first symptoms of brain damage until years or decades after their football careers ended.
This makes head injury cases, no matter how lucrative they may be, especially difficult to try, because evidence tends to decay over the years, and because Texas has in place a statute of limitations that prevents people from filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas after two years (although the statute of limitations may begin to count down from the “discovery of harm” rather than from the injury itself). If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, you should speak to an experienced attorney to figure out whether you have a case.