In recent years, brain damage among current and retired players in the National Football League has become a major talking point, both within the league itself and in mainstream media. Specifically, the deadly brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has raised questions about safety for professionals, as well as college, high school and even little league players. The 2015 Will Smith movie Concussion brought these issues to light for most of America. Now, professional players want compensation for their brain injuries.
In short, CTE is caused by repeated concussions, and causes the brain to deteriorate. This can cause mood disorders, loss of motor skills, early-onset dementia and can even lead to suicide. Nearly 40 retired players are currently suing the NFL for workers’ compensation after suffering the effects of CTE. Though the disease cannot be officially diagnosed until after death, its effects can lead to doctors giving a strong argument that a person is suffering from it.
The lawsuit, filed in Florida, includes a request to the federal court to force the league to recognize CTE and other brain damage as an occupational disease. As such, players would be entitled to workers’ compensation, just like anyone else who suffered an occupational disease. The players chose to file the lawsuit together because the NFL has a history of denying individual workers’ compensation claims. Both the league itself and its 32 individual teams have been named defendants in the lawsuit.
In addition to workers’ compensation, the lawsuit also seeks compensation for loss of consortium (companionship) for the players’ spouses. The lawsuit claims the NFL broke regulations set out by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) by not warning players of the risk of brain injury, and by promoting the use of the helmet as a weapon in games, leading to more injury.
If you have been denied a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina, you do have legal options. Contact the attorneys at Howell & Christmas today for a free consultation.