George Visger: Keeping our Heads Straight

Sep 4, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our phone lines and Inboxes have been tied up since last Thursday when it was first announced that there was a tentative settlement offer being presented to the court by the mediator in the NFL concussion lawsuits. On first review, there are some details that haven’t really been made available yet and this spin is also starting to look very familiar. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of speculation and misinformation out there already pouring out of the media and we’re just as guilty with trying to second-guess much of what’s been said. But we’ve had some conversations with many of the retired players and lawyers in an attempt to get more facts as well as to calm things down.
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Something that’s interesting to note: All the media – especially the mainstream sports media with the likes of ESPN which axed its ties to the League of Denial documentary with PBS – have been posting opinion pieces and misinformation about this settlement proposal. Most of the people directly involved with the litigation have informed us that they have very few details yet. The only party in this whole mess who have NOT said anything is… You guessed it. The League. Is this another typical NFL pit-everyone-against-each-other maneuver? Hmmm. And if you do want some real gossip, check out this piece on who may have been part of the negotiations: Click HERE.
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George Visger asked us to post his thoughts here online as part of a better strategy for everyone: The best answer is, “We don’t have all the facts yet. Let’s just wait and see.”
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George VisgerI owe Jason Luckasevic a HUGE apology.
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JASON, I APOLOGIZE FOR MY COMMENTS I E-MAILED YESTERDAY.
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I will follow up by sending this to everyone I emailed my displeasure at the settlement to.
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Again, I apologize.
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I know you have been in this battle for the last 6 years. You told me years ago, prior to it even being filed, you were in it for the long run. I remember meeting with you and an attorney from a big bad firm that was involved in the settlement with Big Tobacco. You were looking to team with them as no law firm has the resources to take on the NFL conglomerate alone.
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After months of review, one law firm after another turned tail and ran. You called me that day to state, “George, we will get this done for all the families who have suffered. We’ll find lawyers with enough backbone and integrity to go after these NFL with us.”
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As soon as I heard the announcement Thursday of the NFL’s proposed settlement in the NFL head injury case, I fell for the NFL’s propaganda. When I read stories about the amount and payment schedule over 20 years, I was livid.
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“What is this garbage?” I thought. “$750 a month paid out over 20 years?!!”
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As I have a tendency to do, I jumped the gun. I fired off upset before I had any of the facts – other than the “facts” we were fed which were only partial truths. It may be more propaganda from the NFL as a last ditch, Hail Mary attempt to divide us once again. The truth of the matter is that  Jason Luckasevic and the other key attorneys involved still don’t know the details yet: Exact amounts, who gets what or how it will all be divided or the process of rejecting this proposal.
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You stated you need to make sure it’s even real money and you need more time to sort out the facts.
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I believe you and I hope all my NFL brothers I may have fired up (and some who got me fired up) will also do the same.
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Jason Luckasevic is the ONLY attorney who has been involved from the inception of this case when it was only a “potential” case. Others have joined the fray and may be making more noise than Jason but that’s been all right with him as it is with me.
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You did more than what you promised me years ago. You said, “I can’t promise you anything or even if we will ever get a suit out of this, but I promise you we will do everything in our power to get it done if there’s any possibility at all.”
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Thanks for keeping your word. And again I apologize for ever doubting your integrity.
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My family thanks you too.
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George Visger
San Francisco 49ers
1980 & 1981
Super Bowl XVI
Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused brain surgeries
Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits
The Visger Group
Traumatic Brain Injury Consulting
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I spoke to Jason and other parties involved in the suit this morning. Some of the terms have not even been worked out and when they do, we will all have a say in it. The final settlement must be approved by the players and attorneys. If we don’t like the settlement we don’t approve it. It’s that simple.
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PS: My actions and statements are classic examples of what those of us who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries and CTE face.

  • Poor Judgement
  • Lack of Impulse control
  • And Anger Management Issues

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5 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dave Pear
    September 4th, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Dave Pear

    If this PROPOSED concussion settlement of $765 million is even accepted, then once again the mighty NFL has proven that it is above the law. They will not admit any wrongdoing and no discovery of what they really did.

    $765,000,000 will not even begin to compensate the 4,500 plaintiffs in the concussion mass tort personal injury suits. If only 100 brain damaged players received $5,000,000, that’s $500,000,000 with ONLY $200,000,000 remaining for the other 4,400 plaintiffs which works out to $45,000 payable over 20 years or $2,275 annually. It’s not even math – that’s just simple arithmetic!

    On its face, this turns out to be nothing more than a nuisance fee for the NFL.

    Then there are the different compensation amounts for brain injuries. One amount for Alzheimers, one amount if you committed suicide and they cut your brain open and someone determines that you have CTE, one amount for dementia, etc.

    What about strokes? What about Meniere’s disease and all the other amnesia disorders?

    Why should anyone even be required to see another doctor if we have already been receiving disability benefits due to head injuries? Can’t they read our medical reports? Or are they trying to look for another loophole or fictitious excuse just like the Bell/Rozelle disability board continues to do already?

    On August 31, 1995, the NFL’s Dr. Hugh Unger wrote:

    “From my physical examination, this patient is markedly incapacitated from both the cervical and lumbar areas, all which were secondary to injuries sustained while playing professional football.”

    Nearly 10 years after the NFL Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan turned me down, I was finally awarded Social Security Disability benefits from the Federal Government in 2004 after a memory assessment. I was rated permanently disabled. The SSD Clinical Psychologist wrote in her report that my prognosis was extremely poor. She cited that I am clearly experiencing grave memory problems as a result of repeated head injuries. She also wrote about me having early onset Alzheimers and signs of early onset dementia along with Meniere’s disease and depression and possible strokes. She also wrote my physical health was extremely poor due to numerous injuries, resulting in chronic pain and limited mobility. Along with my inability to stay awake for a significant length of time. She wrote, “His memory is gravely impaired and it has deteriorated since he was evaluated in 2002 with the WMS-R by Dr. Piyale Comert.”

    This information is from TWO qualified Clinical Psychologists with PhD’s and NOT some rheumatologist like Pellman who is apparently still on the payroll as some sort of NFL brain specialist or another. I wonder if Pellman even knows what a WMS-R is?

    We ALL know that the Bell/Rozelle disability board is a complete debacle and it is unlawful. NOBODY on the board who votes is qualified nor understands disability law. Doug Ell from the Groom Law Group who runs the disability plan tells them how to vote. In fact, retired player Jimmie Giles – who is still fighting for his disability benefits after being ordered his benefits by a judge – told me he called Dave Duerson about 4 months before he committed suicide because of head injuries about why his claim was being denied? Duerson told him that the Groom Law Group told him how to vote.

    And Doug Ell said in an article dated May 4, 2011 By Alan Schwartz: “Despite whatever impairments Dave (Duerson) may have experienced at different times, he still demonstrated mental sharpness far in excess of the average person.” ???

    And Attorney Larry Lamade wrote in a memo to Ell that while orthopedic impairments can be ascribed to football activities, this is not the state of scientific and medical research at the present time regarding concussions and neurological impairments.” ???

    But Mr. Lamade, you were at my denial for disability benefits vy the NFL Bell/Rozelle disability board in 1995 as a spectator in San Francisco when I was denied Total and Permanent Disability benefits even though your own NFL Dr. Hugh Unger wrote in his Physician’s report on me: “80% or greater disabled and no excessive standing, no bending and no lifting over 7 to 15 pounds and must be able to rest frequently.” I was STILL denied my benefits and told to go find a sedentary job!

    So Mr. Lamade, the NFL does not recognize orthopedic impairments as you claimed they do in this article.

    The same smiling faces are still there doing the same thing.

    Oh, and let’s not forgot Dr. “NO” Ira Casson who claims that there is no scientific evidence that repeated blows to the head cause brain damage or dementia.

    Dave Pear
    Social Security disability at the age of 50
    Pro Bowl 1978
    Super Bowl XV

  2. Gordon Arnold Wright
    September 6th, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    Thanks, George, for your thorough apology and what all sufferers of CTE go through on a daily basis.

    I cannot thank my wife enough, who supports me everyday – my family, NFL brothers, friends, fans, lawyers and owners for their support over the years. I also apologize for all of my distasteful behavior. I honestly do my best every day to behave the way my Pop and Mom taught me to behave when I was growing up at our ESSO gas station on Long Island in New York. I can remember my youth better than what happened one hour ago! I know my concussions are the culmination of every hit I took to the head from age 15 until my NFL Football Career ended in 1971.That is what I remember at this moment.

    Thanks, Dave, and everyone for listening to this old Football Player. We never die! We just fade away!

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  3. Alan Pastrana
    September 6th, 2013 at 5:46 am #

    Alan Pastrana

    Dave,

    Thank you for your interest in making sports safe, at all levels.

    I have started to help Dr. Robert Graw, CEO and Head Pediatrician of Righttime Medical Care and founder of http://www.MyHeadFirst.com. I talk about safe fields and coaches being attentive and approachable. Mostly the youth leagues in the state of Maryland, specificially Anne Arundel, Howard and Frederick Counties.

    Yours in sports,
    Alan Pastrana
    Denver Broncos
    1969 – 1970

  4. Barry Darrow
    September 6th, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Barry Darrow

    George,

    Only last week, when the settlement was announced, I saw on Bloomberg News that each retired NFL player would receive $153,000.00 due to the settlement. The next day I received a phone call from a former teammate and he thought the same thing. That was not my read on the settlement.

    Once again, you seem surprised at the way the the NFL manipulates the press. You know they have been buying them off for a long time – e.g., free trips, meals, etc. The press has always been very keen on reporting the biggest contracts while the majority of players never see those big contracts. It was deemed unacceptable to discuss contracts among ourselves.

    In all fairness, members of the team should receive equal shares of the bounty. The NFL has never been about fairness or sport; with them, it’s all business and when that is the case, people become expendable.

    Thanks to the Internet and people such as yourself trying to get the word out, the true stories are finally being told.

    Thank you and others for your efforts – keep the faith, we shall overcome!

    Barry Darrow
    Cleveland Browns
    1974 – 1979

  5. Gordon Arnold Wright
    September 7th, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    Someone told me once, “Lies and Liars,” go around the world at least once before truth gets out of bed. 90% of truth is killed.

    The News knows people love lies rather than truth!

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970