Concussions and Helmets: The Lawsuit

Aug 5, 2011

When I played football for the University of Washington Huskies and then went into the NFL first through the Baltimore Colts, on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and eventually with the Raiders, we all wore Riddell helmets. Little did I know that Riddell was an official paying sponsor of the NFL and was the supplier of choice for each of the teams for many years. This relationship made a lot of money for Riddell because kids playing Pee Wee, high school and college football were led to believe that Riddell was the best protection money could buy. And why not? All their heroes in the NFL were wearing them.
Here’s one of my Topp Raiders cards with that older 70’s helmet – definitely not close to anything like the young players have today. (And the older guys from the 50’s and 60’s played with those leather “helmets”!) We were all coached to use our heads and helmets as part of our play and most of the older players still talk about stingers and having their bells rung several times in every game. And the League even went so far as to create their MTBI (MILD Traumatic Brain Injury) Committee headed for years by their own appointed Dr. No: Dr. Ira Casson who continued to spew their propaganda all the way up to Congress as recently as a couple of years ago.
Our friend, George Visger, played for two years with the 49ers, ending his short career with a Super Bowl ring and 9 subsequent, life-changing brain surgeries that followed. And no disability or pension benefits because he only played for two years so he didn’t even meet the Disability Plan’s 4-year hurdle that all pre-93 players needed to qualify! Do you think his helmet was good protection?
Bowing to heavy pressure in recent years, the League has been making changes to the rules to protect its players from the effects of concussions. They also fired Dr. No and replaced him with a real expert and advocate in the field: Dr. Rich Ellenbogen. But what about all those decades of denial while continuing to misinform its employees with fake studies? And they did that while also sending a false sense of security to school and college players making it all look and sound eerily like the long era when the tobacco industry was telling the public that cigarette smoking was harmless.
And that is why Heidi and I decided to join a lawsuit that holds the League and Riddell responsible for hiding and perpetuating the long-term damages from concussions. The suit was officially filed this week and we’ve just uploaded a full copy to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close):
Full Concussion and Helmet Lawsuit Filing Aug 3 2011
NOTE: I’m not a lawyer and I am not here to solicit your business. But if you want more information, my contact person on this lawsuit is:
Jason Luckasevic
Goldberg, Persky & White
1030 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 338-9460 – direct

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Roman Gabriel
    August 6th, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Roman Gabriel

    I can remember as far back as 1968 when a friend of mine who worked for Bell Helmets (the company that made motorcycle helmets) told me that their helmets were FAR better than the NFL Riddell helments because of their design. Who knew back then that he was correct!

    Roman Gabriel
    16-Year Vet, #18
    LA Rams, Philadelphia Eagles
    1962 – 1978

  2. Billy Truax
    August 6th, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Billy Truax

    Another reason Nolan Harrison III is wrong about “the way other unions are limited in their representation of previous older members.” “Other Unions” have hundreds of thousands of members, the NFLPA has 13,000. “Other unions” have been established for years and years going back to the invention of the automobile. The NFL and NFLPA have only had 3 or 4 major CBAs that have affected its membership since the late 60’s. The NFL enjoys an “exceptional status” when it comes antitrust legislation and therefore so should the players when it comes to its Union considerations.

    And furthermore, the UAW, IBEW, Pipe Fitters didn’t go to work with shoddy plastic helmets and have to butt heads every day to keep their jobs. The NFLPA is a totally different business model from the rank-and-file AFL/CIO; exceptions have been made for management and I think exceptions are in order for retired players.

    Give us a seat at the table and full equity in all negotiations!

    Billy Truax
    LA Rams, Dallas Cowboys
    1964 – 1973

  3. Dr. Mark L. Gordon
    August 6th, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Dr. Mark Gordon
    January 21, 2007: ESPN OUTSIDE THE LINES!!

    I tried then and continue now to provide education for those who will listen about the impact of mTBI on hormonal regulation. These are what regulate your LIFE and the Quality that you seek!

    Best to all…

    Dr. Mark Gordon

  4. George Visger
    October 18th, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    George Visger

    Dr Gordon,

    I am a student of TBIs as a survivor of 9 NFL-caused emergency VP Shunt brain surgeries. Would love to learn more about mTBI on hormonal control.

    NFL players speak up against brain trauma

    08/19/2011 – George Visger, a member of the 49ers’ 1982 Super Bowl team, once carried a playbook. Now he carries a notebook wherever he goes because he can’t remember the simplest things. He scribbles down every… MORE.

    By Mark Emmons

    George Visger
    San Francisco 49ers 1980 & 1981
    Super Bowl XVI
    Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits