The National Football League has been, for the past few years, one of the biggest proponents of concussion awareness. Now, all of that cheerleading may bite them in the backside.
The Associated Press reported today that 75 former players are suing the league for hiding knowledge about the adverse health effects of concussions. The plaintiffs include former Miami Dolphins receiver Mark Duper; ex-Texas Longhorns, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns cornerback Raymond Clayborn; and retired Super Bowl MVP-winning running back Ottis Anderson.
The suit, according to the AP, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday just as the NFL labor dispute seemed to be headed towards an end. Helmet manufacturer Riddell was also named as a defendant.
According to David Hovda, director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the University of California-Los Angeles, a link between traumatic brain injury (a medical condition that includes concussions) and the decline in a brain's neurochemical and metabolic functions was discovered by medical professionals in the 1930s. However, says Hovda, these findings were virtually ignored until the late 1990s.
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Concussions have been linked with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that has ties with dementia, depression and memory loss. Former NFL All Pro Dave Duerson, who killed himself on February 17, was found to have suffered from CTE.