Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

NFL being sued in wrongful death action

Many Pittsburgh football fans by now have know of the tragic circumstances of former professional football player, Dave Duerson. Because Duerson committed suicide last year, his family has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL alleging that the league should have done more to treat or prevent concussions. They have also filed suit against a prominent helmet manufacturer stating the helmets that football players wore did not adequately protect them from concussions.

The family is alleging that the concussions that the former player suffered resulted in brain damage and ultimately led to the player killing himself. The family further alleges that the league knew or should have known about the dangers of concussion, but that they failed to implement procedures that would have prevented such concussions from occurring.

The attorney for the family was quoted as saying that the NFL should have led efforts in educating both current and former players about the dangers of concussions. "They not only dropped the ball, they maintained until current times that there was no connection between playing football, receiving concussions and brain damage."

We will have to wait to find out all of the various circumstances that occurred leading up to the football player's death. Football is obviously a violent sport and injuries are going to occur. However, even in such a sport as football, concerns about player safety still need to be taken into account - especially when such concerns revolve around a player's brain.

Equally obvious is that football is a large moneymaker and profits are often generated by players taking violent hits. But regardless of the business, profits cannot motivate management to forego player safety.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "NFL notebook: Duerson family files suit for death," Feb. 24, 2012

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