February 06, 2013

Jerry's Ink


Negligence lawyers are licking their chops. They've found a new gold mine – football.

Opportunist negligence lawyers like John "I'm rich and handsome so why can't I be President" Edwards, who made millions snoockering hayseed juries to get them to award million-dollar medical malpractice suits, are crawling out from under their favorite rocks.

Football may save their day in the nick of time.

Asbestos and cigarettes have just about run their course.

Now it's football's turn, and the new link to future multi-million-dollar lawsuits is the concussion, which is a deep, significant bruise to the brain.

Just about every person who ever played football has, during the course of his career, experienced some type of concussion. Years ago it was called "having your bell rung."

From now on it will be called "making the cash register ring."

The family of Junior Seau, who recently committed suicide, is filing a lawsuit against the NFL for wrongful death over head injuries he suffered during his career.

Researchers who studied Seau's brain found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative disease that has been found in a number of other athletes who have passed away. The disease is caused by concussions and other repeated head traumas and causes symptoms like memory loss, mood disorders, depression and early-onset dementia.

The lawsuit alleges that the NFL did not do enough to protect Junior Seau from head injuries, saying the league added to "the health risk to players by promoting the game's violence and lauding players for returning to play despite being rendered unconscious and/or disoriented due to their exposure to sub-concussion and concussive forces."

If a judgment in the Seau case is handed down, negligence lawyers will pounce. If there is a settlement in the Seau case, negligence lawyers will pounce. Pouncing is what negligence lawyers do best.

The Seau case will bring on a slew of cases started by older football players who are still feeling the effects of the game.

As of now the NFL is reported to be facing an avalanche of lawsuits consolidated in Philadelphia on behalf of former players, living and dead, claiming that the league knew of the dangers of concussions but failed to warn players or act to protect them.

It doesn't end with the National Football League. Wait until players come after their individual teams. Teams are quaking in their boots.

One cannot watch a football game without a television commercial spewing propaganda as to how committed football is to player safety.

Tell that to the families of Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters and Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling. Like Junior Seau, they are former NFL players who committed suicide.

Tell it to Al Toon, who for years has experienced sensitivity to light, irritability, nausea, lapses in concentration and memory from a severe case of post-concussion syndrome brought on by the nine – count them, nine – concussions he suffered while he was a star wide receiver for the New York Jets.

All a negligence lawyer has to prove when he has a Jets doctor or coach on the witness stand is that the Jets knowingly exposed Toon to concussions and did not protect Toon or make him aware of potential exposure.

Presto! Toon walks away with a multi-million-dollar judgment or a handsome settlement.

It doesn't end there. It reaches out to every college in the country that fields a football team.

Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, any college football factory has thousands of former players who, after four years of brutal practices and vicious games, can sue for a lifetime of headaches, bad dreams, dizzy spells and a future of dementia and Alzheimer's.

A concussion is a concussion no matter what brand of football one has played.

How far will negligence lawyers go?

Imagine this phone call:

"Hello, is this Ritchie Safer?

"Are you 14 years old?

"When you were 11 years old did you play Pop Warner football?

"Did you ever hurt your head?

"Tell me, do you sometimes have trouble remembering the answers in your arithmetic class?

"You do! Put your father on the phone, Richie. Tell him that there is a lawyer on the phone who is going to make him rich."

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

  1. print email
    Serious Subject
    February 06, 2013 | 01:04 AM

    I agree football players take risks at the very nature of the game. However, serious injuries should have some solutions to reduce exposure by the players. Heavier and more padded helmets may be the answer.

  2. print email
    February 06, 2013 | 11:20 AM

    assumption of risk

  3. print email
    February 06, 2013 | 11:24 AM

    "I'm rich and handsome so why can't I be President"

    Sounds like the guy who lost the last election

  4. print email
    February 06, 2013 | 11:28 AM

    when your doctor prescribes the wrong dose of a medication and causes you permanent brain damage, or when your insides are sucked out by an improperly installed pool drain, will you still consider it "snoockering hayseed juries" when its your lawyer doing it?

  5. print email
    The end of football
    February 06, 2013 | 11:29 PM

    Without the lawyers nothing will change. Hard to imagine parents or grandparents letting young kids play the game now. Maybe in a generation or so the game will be played by robots. It has always been fun lining up the teams on a vibrating field or now on your iPad. Anyway, I never understood the fascination of a city with a professional team of hessians who have no real connection to the city. I am sure Baltimore is very "proud" of "their" team.

    Jack Rivkin
  6. print email
    say goodbye to football
    February 07, 2013 | 09:40 PM

    your article really covers very cleverly the great problem our country endures because of our legal system.,

    billions each year are siphoned out of the economy into the pockets of the ambulance chasers.

    i'm sure there are a few lawyers at the tennis courts who will be very unhappy with your great article.,

    irving paler
  7. print email
    Pick Your Poisons
    February 07, 2013 | 10:54 PM

    Waited till now to opine ...

    In our personal lives, concussions are always a very important event. If it's bad enough and you don't get immediate help (or at least stay awake for the next 12 hours), you could be dead at worst, or possibly permanently mentally impaired for the rest of your life. Assuming, of course, that you had some quality DNA to begin with.

    But that's the deal in NFL Football, WBA/WBC Boxing, NHL Hockey, or any other truly full-contact sport if you want to strike it rich and quick. Take it, or leave it.

    From a legal viewpoint, kind of like a U.S. Army or Marine trooper suing the government for getting killed or physically disabled in a combat zone. Goes with the territory - and you volunteered!

    And just to cover the bases (no, not you MLB), I believe PTSD is a real thing for certain people but essentially a legal scam for lawyers in most cases of any kind. Still, it's a great opportunity to make some money and who could love that more than Jerry? LOL, BC

    Bill Crandall
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