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Federal court judge to hear NFL concussion suits

Wisconsin and much of America has had a long term affinity with the game of football. In Wisconsin, football is popular in its youth leagues, high schools, and colleges. It is a major source of revenue for the state's major colleges and universities, and the NFL presence in Wisconsin is legendary. In recent years, however, much more attention has been given to head injuries and chronic conditions that result from repeated impacts to the head and neck. It is a major source of concern athletes and to families with children or members who play at any level.

Incidents involving a brain injury in particular have been cited in several well-publicized incidents of suicide and violent behavior by NFL players. A case now pending in a federal court seeks to have more than 4,000 lawsuits by former NFL players heard by juries, removing these cases from the arbitration process contained in the NFL collective bargaining agreement with its Players Association. The NFL suits mirror concerns in the news in recent years and contend that the NFL has done too little to inform and protect players.

Concussions and chronic brain injury can be devastating conditions. They can result in chronic pain and uncontrolled, violent and even destructive behaviors. Technology has been applied to the equipment to increase safety. New technology promises even greater protection, but nothing has yet been presented to prevent concussions from football-related impacts.

High impact collisions are widely considered to be part of the appeal of football to fans. As a result, the damage to lives from concussions and brain trauma is also part of the sport. The decision in the NFL concussion case may be an important step towards recognition of the serious nature of brain injuries in football. Juries could be free to find fault with the NFL on brain injury safety and award damages for injuries to 4,300 former players. Individuals in similar professions involving regularly sustained trauma may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries with the help of a skilled Wisconsin personal injury attorney.

Source: ABC News, "Judge to Decide Fate of NFL Concussion Lawsuits," Katie Moisse, April 9, 2013

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