Concussions are a problem. They have been around for a very long time, and people have been aware of them, but been unaware of the damage that can happen. Since the beginnings of the game of football, there have been people ‘getting their bell rung.’ It’s been recent we’ve begun to understand the seriousness of football-related head injuries, such as concussions.
A group of more than 4,400 retired NFL players have agreed to a settlement of $765 million outside of court with the National Football League- a case in which the players claimed to have suffered concussions under the NFL’s watch during their playing careers. Independent doctors and fund administrators agreed upon by both parties are expected to evaluate who in the group actually qualifies to receive part of the settlement. When all numbers are finalized, and the settlement begins to pay out to the former players, 50 percent will be received over the course of the first three years, and the remainder will be dispensed over the next 17 years following (Heitner). The NFL has not been helping its former players at all, in fact, they have been avoiding giving such assistance.
In a way, the NFL’s attitude toward former players could be described as “Delay, Deny, and Hope They Die (Dwyre). The blame should be put on the NFL, for not wanting to help keep their former players healthy once they reach the older ages of 35 to 40. And part of the blame, perhaps more than half, should be placed squarely in the lap of the NFL Players’ Association, which barely acknowledges the rights of their players. However, none of that’s should justify the NFL fighting the recent concussion lawsuit presented by former players. For starters, none of the players knew what a concussion was when it first became a problem, as evidenced from this quote from former New York Jets running back, Bruce Harper: “I was knocked out three times during my career, completely knocked out, I went out there and played again, but I didn’t realize I was having problems with my head until they brought this (concussion issues) up.” Harper played for eight years in the NFL, from 1977 to 1984 (Fierro). Neither the NFL nor the players knew about concussions or their severity.
Before the 1990’s, no one was really concerned with “getting your bell rung”. If science didn’t know about them, can we expect the NFL to know and fight something from happening? No, the problem doesn’t happen until the late ‘90s when concussions became prevalent and news of concussions started popping up in the news. The results of the NFL’s tests dismissed any significance of head injuries and concussions. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)...