Ex-Pro Football Players $765M Head Injury Settlement with the NFL Does Not Include Helmet Maker Riddell

Thousands of ex-professional football players and their families have agreed to settle their concussion injury lawsuit against the National Football League for $765 million. The multi-million dollar amount will pay for medical tests, head injury compensation, legal expenses, and medical research for retired NFL players. A judge must still approve the agreement.

Plaintiffs contended that the professional football league purposely conducted a campaign to deny scientific information showing that playing the game came with concussion risk. The NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee is accused of inferring no link between long-term brain damage and concussions, which meant that many players did not know the head injury risks involved.

After retiring, many players have reported suffering from dementia, Amytrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), long-term brain damage, a significantly greater risk of depression, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a risk of neurodegenerative diseases, and Alzheimer’s. The ex-players and/or their families have since come forward seeking damages.

While a concussion may not sound as serious as brain injury, it is in fact a traumatic brain injury. Even a mild one can lead to serious, related repercussions later, and repeat concussions, which can happen when someone plays football long-term can be even more dangerous.

To give you an idea of the serious impact a football-related brain trauma can have on a player, ex-San Francisco offensive lineman Forest Blue’s family says he died at age 65 because of brain traumas he suffered while playing pro football. According his family’s wrongful death lawsuit, Blue sustained multiple concussions as an NFL player, yet the league allegedly did not diagnose, prevent, or properly treat the injuries and they never told him that playing with a concussion could cause permanent brain injury. His cause of death was CTE, which is a type of progressive, advanced brain damage. Blue’s family is also suing helmet manufacturer Riddell.

Riddell, the helmet maker who also is named as a defendant in many of the concussion injury cases was not part of this settlement. Riddell is the NFL’s official helmet provider and many ex-players accuse the company of failing to provide proper protection from the risk of concussions.

Head Injuries and Football
Head injuries don’t just happen to professional football players. They also have been known to occur at the college and high school levels. Earlier this year, a jury found Riddell at fault in a Colorado helmet injury lawsuit filed by a 22-year-old man who got hurt while playing high school football. Riddell was ordered to pay $3.1 million to Rhett Ridolfi, who suffered a head injury and became paralyzed on one side of his body during a football drill in 2008.

The plaintiff contended that the helmet maker did not provide adequate warning that even with helmet use there was the risk of possible concussions. (The jury, however, did not agree that the helmet Ridolfi used had design defects.)

Failure to warn, manufacturing defects, marketing defect, and design defects can be reason to pursue a helmet injury lawsuit claiming products liability. At The Gilbert Law Group® we represent head injury clients and product defect victims. Contact our products liability law firm today.


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