Dedicated Tampa Attorneys Assisting Injured Professional Athletes
Scientific studies have shown that repeated head trauma, such as concussions sustained while playing professional football, can lead to dementia. Despite these findings, for many years the NFL has allegedly to put its players in harm’s way, while concealing the risks to their health. The sports injury lawyers at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, based in the Tampa area, believe that the NFL and others involved in these practices should be held accountable for their actions. Serving clients across the nation, we help former players, as well as their families, who are suffering from the effects of the retired athletes’ dementia, assert their rights to the compensation they deserve.
Former NFL Athletes and Dementia
Dementia is a disorder whereby an individual develops multiple cognitive defects, including memory impairment, as well as other symptoms such as aphasia, aprazia, agnosia, or a disturbance in executive functioning. People who sustain repeated concussions have a higher probability of developing dementia, as well as other cognitive defects.
Professional football players are at a high risk of suffering from dementia later in life. A study conducted by the University of Michigan, for example, showed that retired NFL players suffer from dementia at a higher rate than the general population. In retirees who were aged 30 to 49, the rate of dementia was 19 times greater than that of the general population. Of the retired NFL players 50 years or older, 6.1 percent were diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another memory-related illness, compared with 1.2 percent of other men in the United States.
In 2007, after decades of study by the scientific community of the risks associated with football players sustaining repeated concussions and long-term cognitive defects, the NFL incorporated the “88 Plan” into its collective bargaining agreement with players. The 88 Plan provides financial benefits to help care for retired players suffering from dementia or similar brain trauma. However, the plan places caps on how much a former member may be reimbursed for and often falls short of the amount necessary to replace the incomes of people who cannot work or need 24-hour care.
Liability for Brain Injuries Sustained Playing Football
In 2011, former NFL players filed personal injury lawsuits against the NFL, alleging fraud, misrepresentation, failure to warn, and negligence. To establish negligence, a plaintiff must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care;
- The duty of care was breached by the defendant’s actions;
- The breach directly caused the injuries; and
- The victim sustained actual damages as a result.
The retired players allege that the NFL breached its duty of care to players by failing to warn them of the risks associated with repeated head injuries, despite over five decades of knowledge of the scientific research associating repetitive head trauma with dementia and other brain injuries. The plaintiffs also contend that the NFL put in place policies that encouraged players to go back on the field following a concussion. They argue that the league knew or should have known that its regulations led to repeated concussions, which resulted in permanent traumatic brain injuries.
Since the initial filings, over 5,000 retired players have filed similar claims, which were consolidated into a class action lawsuit. These parties have also reached a proposed settlement, to which the court has granted a preliminary approval. Under the terms of the settlement, the NFL must pay monetary damages to former players, as well as family members, who have been diagnosed with qualifying brain injuries.
Pursue a Negligence Claim by Consulting a Hillsborough County Lawyer
If you or your loved one is a former NFL player suffering from dementia, the negligence attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC can help you assert a legal claim. Many of our clients have come from Hillsborough County, but we have offered legal guidance to individuals nationwide. Call us today at (866) 597-0009, or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation.