More than 80 concussion-related suits have been filed against the NFL by more than 2,000 former players. A master complaint was filed Thursday in federal court in Philadelphia summarizing players' claims that the league fraudulently concealed long-term effects of head trauma for decades.If courts start handing down big money awards to former players based on concussions, it could bring an end to tackle football at all levels. No school or private organization that sponsors the sport will be able to afford to do it with that risk out there. They won't be able to insure against it (the insurers will stop covering it as awards climb), and the sport could die.
"The NFL's response to the issue of brain injuries … has been, until very recently, a concerted effort of deception and denial," says the 88-page complaint, according to a copy obtained in advance by USA TODAY.
"The NFL actively tried to and did conceal the extent of the concussion and brain trauma problem, the risk to the Plaintiffs, and the risks to anyone else who played football."
The NFL says it has long made player safety and understanding of concussions a priority and that the allegations have no merits.
The real question is whether players today are suffering concussions at the same rate as players who were in the league 20 or 30 years ago. Have the helmets and neck protection made things better, or are the rates of injury about the same due to the nature of the sport?
Football should be very worried as these lawsuits progress.