One thing is clear after yesterday’s hearing: congress wants the National Football League (NFL) to do more about preventing concussions and head injuries for its players.
The two new chairmen of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee were unable to answer all the questions from the House Judiciary Committee. As such, two House Representatives believe that the NFL has work to do if it wants to lead the pack on limiting brain injuries in sports.
NFL’s experts fumble questions on helmet technology.
Although two retired NFL players — 41-year-old Nolan Harrison and 38-year-old Corey Louchiey — as well as the mother of a disabled college player and three doctors testified at the hearing, it was clear that the NFL’s new head injury experts were squarely in the cross-hairs of the House Judiciary Committee.
Anthony D. Weiner (D-New York) and Linda T. Sanchez (D-California) were the only two members of the judiciary committee that stayed the entire hearing and each were quite critical of the chairmen. Weiner was especially upset when neither Ellenbogen nor Batjer could offer up any answers regarding improvements to helmet technology and the current state of head protection in professional football.
“I was troubled by the idea that the NFL’s new experts on head trauma would be so unprepared to answer even basic questions about helmets,” he said afterward in an interview.
As one of the primary prevention methods against head injuries in sports, helmets are very important. This is why our brain injury attorneys are shocked that the NFL is so woefully uninformed on this subject. How else can they expect to reduce concussions for its players or the rest of the sports world? We’re guessing it’s safe to assume they might know a little bit more about helmet technology next time they meet the House Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, Sanchez focused on the subject of retired players suffering from brain damage. Her worries centered around the use of questionable data from past NFL studies, after Batjer discussed how it could still be utilized. The Former head injury co-chairmen were intensely criticized for both ignoring public outcries to prevent serious head injuries in the NFL and for using what some experts believed to be poor or misleading data about brain injuries.
The NFL, for its part, seemed to have turned a corner on its stance on concussions. After a similarly — or perhaps even more — critical hearing last October, the league mandated the use of independent neurologists for players with head injuries and aired several public service announcements on the dangers of concussions. Last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell urged the governors of 44 states to follow Washington State’s law on concussion guidelines for youth sports.
“I can only cross my fingers and hope they’ll be a little more responsive to retired players and a little more willing to part with the NFL’s older way of doing things,” Sanchez said afterward in an interview.
The stakes are high and the fallout is severe after a traumatic brain injury. Just ask Tammy Plevretes, whose son, Preston, sustained permanent neurological injuries while playing football for LaSalle University in 2005. The family sued the Philadelphia university and settled last fall for $7.5 million. She put things into perspective quite well.
“This is not a broken arm or a broken leg,” she said. “This is a broken life.”
If you or someone you know suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, you may entitled to a settlement. Contact our bilingual offices today at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE Consultation with a brain injury attorney. You may also click here to submit your case for a FREE Online Review. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe nothing until we recover money on your behalf.
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Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines