Legal Representation in Tampa for Injured Football Players
Individuals who sustain repetitive concussions have a much higher risk of developing neurocognitive deficits or brain trauma as a result. Despite its alleged awareness of this information, the National Football League has encouraged its members to play through symptoms of headaches, dizziness, and head injuries, resulting in permanent impairments to retired athletes. The knowledgeable sports injury attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC represent former NFL players near Tampa and elsewhere in personal injury lawsuits arising from these incidents. We assist individuals across the nation who have suffered from neurocognitive impairments after a career in professional football.
Types and Causes of Neurocognitive Impairments
A neurocognitive deficit is a reduction or impairment of cognitive function that can be seen by physical changes that have occurred in the brain due to mental illnesses, neurological diseases, or brain injuries. For years, studies have linked repeated concussions with a high risk of suffering a neurocognitive deficit. Cognitive impairments include differing levels of dementia as well as early death due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is a degenerative brain disease, stemming from multiple concussions, and it can only be diagnosed in an autopsy following an individual’s death. Those suffering from CTE often show symptoms of memory loss, aggression, depression, and confusion.
A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs showed that of 128 brains belonging to deceased former football players at the high school, college, and professional level, 101 of them exhibited signs of CTE. Additionally, brain researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have confirmed CTE in at least six former NFL players. Despite these and other findings, the NFL continually denied that its players were at a high risk of developing neurocognitive impairments due to head injuries continually sustained on the field. Not until 2007, when the league offered the “88 Plan” as part of its collective bargaining agreement with players, did the NFL acknowledge the link between retired players’ cognitive deficiencies and the game. The 88 Plan provides financial benefits to help pay for the care of retired players who have developed neurocognitive deficits, but it caps the amount a former player may receive, and therefore it often falls short of what is needed to compensate for the lifetime of care necessary for these types of injuries.
Holding the NFL Accountable for Its Actions
Many retired NFL players, in need of additional financial assistance to deal with their brain trauma, and discovering the league’s alleged knowledge of the risks that players faced, filed personal injury actions against the league. The players included claims for fraud, as well as failure to warn and negligence. In these types of lawsuits, the plaintiffs must show the NFL was negligent by establishing that the league, as well as other defendants, owed them a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner, that the duty was breached, that the breach resulted directly in the athletes’ injuries, and that quantifiable damages were incurred.
The retired athletes alleged that the league failed to warn them of the risks associated with repeated concussions. Furthermore, the plaintiffs contended that the NFL failed to enact reasonable guidelines and rules to regulate post-concussion medical treatment and standards regarding returning to the field following a concussion.
Since the first filings in 2011, more than 5,000 retired players have joined the class action lawsuit. Recently, the court preliminarily approved a settlement for class members. Under the proposed settlement, the NFL will pay monetary damages to former players and their family members when the athletes have been affected by certain types of brain injuries.
Pinellas County Attorneys Experienced in Bringing Negligence Claims
If you are a retired NFL player suffering from neurocognitive impairment, or a family member who has lost a loved one to an early death with CTE, the negligence lawyers at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC can help assert your legal rights. Based near the Pinellas County area, our lawyers have assisted people throughout the U.S. You can call us today at (866) 597-0009, or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation.