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That New NFL Neuro-Cognitive Benefit…

Jan 23, 2013

rubber-glovesWe just received a copy of the NFL Neuro-Cognitive Benefit application form. Attorney John Hogan had discussed some of the issues and problems with this plan at our 2012 Independent Football Players Conference last April (we’ve attached his video to the bottom of this post). John’s early observations on the new Plan and programs are in the first half of his discussion.
NOTE: Be sure to look at Pages 2, 4 and 5 in this application. Here’s a clip from Page 2 (click to enlarge for easier viewing):
NFL Player Cognitive Plan Waiver
You can read our earlier post that includes an outline of the new Plan by clicking HERE.

And a fresh observation from disability attorney John Hogan:
I now have an additional comment or two: If you seek the counsel of an attorney regarding  this and he or she thinks you fully understand it, and they recommend you sign it, please send me their name and address so I might look into a legal malpractice claim! Assuming a guy might be eligible for this benefit, I would want the medical opinion of a Board-certified mental health professional indicating that the guy understands it! If you don’t seek the opinion of an attorney, and sign it, and qualify for the benefit because you have a significant cognitive impairment, I would think you could later assert that you did not have the required mental capacity to knowingly and intelligently waiving your right to sue for other benefits.
Also, will the examination they send you to evaluate whether they think you understand the waiver of rights?  (Another possible malpractice action – or even a crime: A  doctor giving legal advice or a lawyer giving medical advice?) This is all rather incredible to me.
We uploaded a copy of this Application to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close):

NFL Player Cognitive Plan Application



13 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. RobertinSeattle
    January 23rd, 2013 at 2:37 pm #


    On a lighter note, we did want to point out that those hands and gloves are NOT John Hogan’s.

  2. Dave Pear
    January 23rd, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Dave Pear

    To the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan,

    How much money did you pay the Groom Law Group to write this application and release? And will you reimburse us for our own attorney’s opinion about it?

    Dave Pear

  3. John W. Griffin
    January 23rd, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    John Griffin

    Dear Dave,

    I received something in the mail today from a Troy Vincent from Player Engagement. It’s a card that says: Introducing NFL Q5: Training for Life.

    What the heck is this and what is it supposed to be about?

    Where would one go to look into this or is it just another piece of crap that they are wasting money on?

    John W. Griffin
    L A Rams/Denver Broncos

  4. Dave Pear
    January 23rd, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Dave at Home

    John -

    Funny you should ask – I got one too!

    We just put up another new post from Larry Kaminski about the slick new NFL Training for Life program (?!!). No worries – it’ll all die down after Super Bowl is over and no one is listening any more. Meanwhile the concussion lawsuits keep ramping up and I’m sure we’ll be hearing even more about them over the summer.


  5. Don Brady - PhD, PsyD, NCSP,
    January 23rd, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Don Brady

    I believe the application should have the following 3 terms operationally defined in clearly worded, specific and measurable terms:

    a) neuro-cognitive
    b) mild
    c) moderate

    and that clear examples of such symptoms which lead to corresponding diagnoses be provided within the application/contract.

    1- All possible/acceptable neuro-cognitive symptoms/impairments should be listed and clearly defined within the contract/application. This comprehensive list is recommended to ensure there is no misunderstanding of such terms that are deemed allowable symptoms/impairments under the contract/application.

    2- All the Plan’s current Medical Advisory Physicians and neutral physicians be listed in writing by name, educational background and specialty/specialties upon graduation from medical/graduate school. Furthermore, any and all conflicts of interest should be acknowledged/denied by each evaluator.

    When any additions in the Medical Advisory Physicians and/or neutral medical evaluators occur, the corresponding educational and training information of the newly appointed doctor should be available in writing and within the application/contract. Again, conflicts of interest should be acknowledged/denied by each evaluator.

    3- The plan should include and clearly define and discuss all possible procedures, tests, assessments, observations and any other measures of information that are allowed to be included and utilized within a neuro-cognitive medical exam and/or a neuropsychological assessment.

    4- Written reasons why the Medical Advisory Physician and/or neutral medical evaluator did not utilize certain evaluation approaches within the overall assessment and corresponding interpretation of findings should also be clearly provided within the context of the clinician’s evaluation report findings.

    Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, LMFT
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist
    Nationally and NYS Certified School Psychologist

  6. John Hogan
    January 24th, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    John Hogan

    Doctor Brady,

    You are absolutely right and it appears obvious that you have given more thought to this than anyone at the Plan has.

    Your expert insight should be equally applicable to T&P disability evaluations. I have no doubt that the doctors the Plan uses are very qualified but I have always been concerned that they are all over the place on what qualifies as totally disabled. As one example, they do not take vocational factors into account and I have always been concerned whether they were talking about full- or part-time work.

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney
    Retired Player Advocate

  7. Floyd Wedderburn
    January 24th, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Floyd Wedderburn


    You’re absolutely right about having an attorney look over this crap! This is the NFL taking advantage of former players again and again!

    Floyd Wedderburn
    Seattle Seahawks
    2000 – 2002

  8. Don Brady - PhD, PsyD, NCSP
    January 24th, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Don Brady

    Attorney Hogan,

    Appreciate your comments.

    I’m curious: When these neuro-cognitive plans were being drafted, were COI-free licensed psychologists asked for input/feedback RE:the application content to ensure better advocacy/protection for the Players?

    Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, LMFT
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist
    Nationally and NYS Certified School Psychologist
    Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

  9. RobertinSeattle
    January 24th, 2013 at 10:32 am #


    Don -

    I can probably answer your question to John Hogan very simply:

  10. RobertinSeattle
    January 24th, 2013 at 10:47 am #


    In all seriousness, most of the retired players have realized that everything the League and its owners – as well as the Union – have done is intentionally stacked AGAINST the retirees, especially the older players.

    This application is but one example of the kind of one-sided rigging we continue to point out with everything these people do. What more outsiders are finally beginning to understand is that if any other Fortune 500 corporation did even a few of the things the NFL has done to its employees, there would be people doing the perp walk straight to jail.

    When the NFL robs the retired players out of their EARNED benefits, the burden then falls on the American public and its programs – like Social Security Disability and Medicare – to provide a safety net for those in need. Even if you’re not a sports fan, this should make your blood boil. (And don’t get me started about billion-dollar stadiums financed with public money! And sports channels crammed down our throats as part of fixed bundles from cable and satellite networks!)

    These people always talk a good talk with all these shiny programs rolled out in front of an unsuspecting public to make them look good. But you don’t have to scratch very deep beneath the slick surface to see that very few of these men actually receive these benefits at all. It’s estimated that only around 5% are actually approved to receive full benefits with most disqualified through bureaucratic processes; there are absolutely no checks-and-balances even remotely close to what you proposed in this one example alone.

    Conflicts of Interest? It’s only a conflict of interest when it’s NOT in THEIR best interest!

  11. John Hogan
    January 24th, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    John Hogan


    I couldn’t have answered Don’s question any better – with both of your replies!

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney
    Retired Player Advocate

  12. Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP
    January 24th, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Don Brady

    Hi Robert and John,

    Since one of my specialties is Pediatrics, I am able to comprehend the contents and meaning of the baby video. :-)

    So it’s apparent that former players have again not only received poor representation but perhaps continue to lack adequate knowledge RE: the multiple possible short-term and long-term adverse effects of sustaining concussions/brain injuries.

    Furthermore, the complexity and the existence of numerous symptoms/impairments that may result from suffering concussions, aka brain injury, seem to warrant knowledgeable persons being actively involved in the drafting and approval of any proposed NFL Player disability plan.

    So it would seem beneficial to these players that input from COI-free independent and knowledgeable professionals beyond medical doctors be obtained to assure the formulation of a quality disability plan.

    It would also seem that attorneys representing the NFL players would benefit from having these same COI-free professionals on their legal team when application plans like the NFL Neuro-Cognitive Plan are being drafted and reviewed for approval.

    Kind regards,
    Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, LMFT
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist
    Nationally and NYS Certified School Psychologist
    Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

  13. Joe S.
    February 4th, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Joe Steed

    Congrats to the Ravens on their Super Bowl win. Ray Lewis played 17 years. Junior Seau played 20. Hopefully Lewis will do the right thing. The NFL will face a wave of new lawsuits each year as more guys “retire.” Since each retired player is a potential lawsuit maybe it’s better for the NFL to settle now than to let a wave of lawsuits continue to grow bigger. Food for thought.

    Joe Steed
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    1992 – 1999

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