MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dozens of lawsuits from former NFL players were on full display in a federal court in Miami Thursday. The lawyers for the league are asking for the cases, which dealt with negligence and other charges, to be combined into one case.
The claims from former players center on whether the NFL knew of potential long-term health risks of repeated head trauma, but just recently started trying to deal with it on the field.
The players claim that repeated concussions and other head trauma leads to long-term problems including depression, migraine headaches, memory loss, and serious diseases like Lou Gehrig’s disease and others.
Just last year, former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson committed suicide in his Sunny Isles Beach condo. In his suicide note, he asked for his brain to be given to the NFL’s brain bank for analysis.
Brain researchers said Duerson suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repeated head trauma, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
If the league is successful in creating one case for all the players, the list of former players in the suit would be a who’s who of former stars.
The list already includes: former Miami Dolphins players Patrick Surtain, Oronde Gadsden, Lamar Thomas, Mark Duper and also features O.J. Anderso and Jim McMahon, according to the Herald.
The NFL has tried to walk a tight-rope when it comes to hard hits. The league celebrates crushing hits, but wants to try their best to keep the players safe.
In recent years, the NFL gave teams procedures to follow before players with any sort of head trauma could return to the game. However, team doctors, employed by teams, can be under pressure to get the best players back on the field in a hurry.
An example of this came last season during a Cleveland Browns game. Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy was leveled by a Pittsburgh Steelers defender and was clearly suffering from some sort of head trauma after the hit.
McCoy was taken out for one play, and then reinserted into the game. It led to the NFL implementing independent observers on every sideline who try to ensure that injured players don’t return to the field too quickly, according to the Herald.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)