It was a hot button issue during the NFL negotiation process for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Now, the discussion over concussions will rear its ugly head once again after word got out that 21 former players are suing the National Football League over the long-term effects of the severe brain injury.
Notable names including Jamal Lewis, Dorsey Levens and Patrick Surtain are seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages from the NFL for "deliberately omitting or concealing years of evidence linking concussions to long-term neurological problems." In addition, the former players are also claiming that the NFL made "misrepresentations about the seriousness of their injuries 'with the intent of inducing NFL players, including plaintiffs, to return to play as soon as physically possible after having suffered a football-related concussion and to promote an aggressive style of football that would attract viewers.'"
In 1994, the NFL attempted to address the ever-growing issue by creating a committee of researchers and doctors to study concussions. When the findings were finally published in 2003, they concluded that "there was no long-term negative health consequence associated with concussions." However, the lawsuit points out that the NFL not only replaced the leaders of its research committee, but that the new management determined that the data used in the past by the NFL to counter the long-term effects of concussions was deemed "infected" and lacking in science. All in all, the NFL will need to resolve this matter in a smart yet swift fashion. But that is always easier said than done.