NFL and Concussions: Suing for the Obvious – An All-American Sport

Posted on May 4, 2012

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Over 1600 former NFL players are suing the National Football League, claiming that the organization hid the dangers of concussions from them.  I’m not buying it.  Common sense, people!  Why do we wear helmets for biking, motorcycling, parachuting, horseback riding, hockey, rollerblading, whitewater rafting, race car driving, construction work, just about any activity where you have even the possibility of something bonking your head?  Because we have known, for a very long time, that bonking the head is a bad thing.

The suit claims, among other things, that the NFL failed “to take reasonable steps necessary to protect players from devastating head injuries.”  Really?  What’s that hard, padded, helmet-shaped thingie that you wear on your head when you play?  Just a way to put a logo on your head?  Why did the NFL start using leather helmets over 100 years ago?  Oh, right.  Because too many players were suffering too many devastating injuries.  Probably the same reason that helmets became a requirement by the 1940s.  And the same reason that the helmets have continued to improve over the years, even as study actively continued on the phenomenon of concussions, and various materials and helmet-construction techniques to mitigate the impact of the blows to the head which football players inevitably experience.  Check out the Wikipedia page.  With all of the attention given to head injuries, prevention, and helmets for the past century, I don’t think that the players have that much of a case in claiming that they didn’t know the risks.

But  I could be overestimating our legal system.  After all, who would reasonably think that a career spent running full tilt and bashing one’s head against a bunch of 200-pound guys, or slamming one’s head into the ground, could possibly result in physical damage?

Again, I don’t buy it.  It is patently obvious that football is dangerous.  Too bad the average NFL player salary of $1.9 million is enough for these players to justify taking the risk upon themselves — or ignoring it —  but not when risk turns into reality.  No, then they want millions more.  It’s the American way.

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