NFL Football Players Claim Repeated Head Trauma During Their Careers


football playersThis is a case against a football club wherein a number of former players have brought suit against their former team for not disclosing the dangers of head trauma to the players. The lead attorney on the case believes that there must be some medical information dating back to the periods prior to the collective bargaining agreement (circa 1987-1993) indicating the dangers of repeated head trauma.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • Are you familiar with historical medical data pertaining to head traumas that was produced in the 1980's?

Expert Witness Response E-000197

There were a variety of reports documenting what we now term chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in boxers in the 1970’s and 1980’s (dementia pugilistica). The challenge here will be to relate these reports to the sequelae of concussions in football players, and additionally to establish that failure to make this connection as being negligent. Given the role and responsibilities of owners of a professional football club, I think it reasonable to hold them to a high level of accountability for the potential dangers to their employees. There were studies published in the early 1980’s on concussion incidence and severity in football players ( ie., Am J Public Health 1983:73:1370-1375) which did not address the issue of CTE. More detailed reports were published in 1988 ( ie.,Am J Sports Med 16: 51-56). Reports directly linking concussions to chronic neurologic sequelae in football players appeared in the Sports Medicine literature in the early 1990’s (ie., Sports Med. 1993: 15, 338-343) and then in major medical journals in the late 1990’s (ie., JAMA 1999:282, 958-963). I am frequently called on to testify in high-level cases which require extensive and meticulous review of the medical literature. I am a Clinical Professor of Neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center in NY, board-certified in Neurology and a former examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. I would consider this assignment quite interesting and am prepared to commit to producing a detailed overview of the status of the literature on this topic from 1970-2000, as a starter.

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