Haven’t We Seen This Before? How the NFL May Be Like Big Tobacco Companies

It is widely known that tobacco use is bad for your health, but that was not always the case.  For many years, large tobacco companies engaged in an effort to misdirect and misinform the public about the dangers associated with tobacco use.  In fact, in 1953 large tobacco companies created their own front organization called the Tobacco Industry Research Committee that unscrupulously set forth arguments and issued studies suggesting that conclusive evidence linking tobacco use with disease did not exist despite well accepted evidence to the contrary.

 It was the intentional effort on behalf of big tobacco companies to mislead the public about the danger of their product that ultimately led to the success of claims by smokers against the tobacco companies.  One would think that organizations that provide a dangerous product would have learned their lesson from the big tobacco companies, but the National Football League (“NFL”) may not have.  Recently, the NFL was named as a defendant in several lawsuits filed by former players, and some of their wives, who allege that the NFL concealed information about concussion risks for decades.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that typically occurs when there is a significant impact to the head causing brain movement or jarring, and concussions are frequently caused during football and other contact sports.  Concussion symptoms often include headaches, nausea, confusion, blurred vision, memory loss and loss of consciousness.  A concussion is a very serious injury that can have long term health effects, including cognitive impairment, depression, inability to concentrate, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, dementia, and early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The NFL’s Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury seems eerily similar to the Tobacco Industry Research Committee of yesteryear.  Indeed, lawsuits filed against the NFL have alleged that the committee misrepresented the science behind concussive injuries to play down the connection between concussion and long term brain injuries. If evidence that the NFL failed to protect players by intentionally suppressing information about the long term effects of concussions is discovered, then the NFL will likely face a similar fate to that of the big tobacco companies in the form of large class action settlements.

Currently, the law firm Pope McGlamry is evaluating concussion injury cases on behalf of former NFL players, as well as those who may have suffered from a concussion caused by other forms of trauma such as an automobile accident, trucking accident or a slip and fall.  If you or someone you love has been injured by a sports-related concussion, you may be entitled to compensation.