Concussion coverage continues to take center stage in mid-season as ESPN keeps digging deeper into the contradictory position the League continued to take on the long-term damages of brain injuries from a career in football. Mark Fainaru-Wada reports on the findings of a joint ESPN Outside the Lines and PBS Frontline investigation. Dave’s concussion lawsuit attorney Jason Luckasevic was part of a discussion panel with ESPN’s Outside the Lines this past Friday – here’s the audio:
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And here’s an earlier OTL video from back in February 2012 with background on the growing concussion lawsuits being filed:
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Then there’s a very recent clip from ESPN discussing the “smoking gun” that could damage the NFL’s claims of ignorance about concussions even as the Disability Board unanimously approved three disability claims based on concussion injuries suffered by players – all while denying the majority of similar claims by publicly disavowing any connection of long-term damages from concussions and brain injuries. Hall of Famer Mike Webster is the most prominent of those three approved claims with a $1.8 million settlement to his estate after giving the NFL and its Disability Plan a sound beating in the appeals process.
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And the article from Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada at ESPN:
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Mixed messages on brain injuries

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Even the Canadian media is starting to cover the long-term effects of concussions and brain injuries on retired football (and hockey)  players. We’ve heard that there may be concussion lawsuits being considered north of the border now. Dave was on a recent interview with CBC Sports in Toronto to discuss the impact of the concussion lawsuits on the NFL today.
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Here’s the video, eh?
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Today I was reminded again of the firestorm that followed a single comment I’d made several years ago: “I wish I never played football.” It was an interview I had done with Jeff Pearlman from Sports Illustrated back in December 2009. You can read the full article -  click HERE.
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At first, I took a lot of heat from many other football players – active and retired – with each of them interpreting my words differently. Never mind the rants from fans and armchair quarterbacks! But over time, I received a lot of support from my fellow retirees who understand all too well what I really meant. In fact, this spring, Hall of Famer Lem Barney said much the same thing:
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Hall of Famer Lem Barney wishes he’d never played football

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As presented at our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference held at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas this past April 2012: After nearly 5 years of research, Jason Luckasevic from Goldberg Persky & White filed one of the first concussion lawsuits on behalf of retired football players. To date, his firm is also one of the few to include Riddell the helmet manufacturer – “Official Helmet of the NFL” – as a responsible party. Richard Lewis from Hausfeld LLP joined Jason on the panel on Saturday morning of our Conference to present their respective firms’ decisions leading up to filing their concussion suits. Be sure to watch the entire episode so you can also hear the questions and comments from the audience at the end.
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Please keep two things in mind: There are many capable and qualified attorneys representing plaintiffs in the concussion litigation. Speak to those you choose to make sure your potential claim is evaluated promptly. The other issue discussed at the Conference was a potential statute of limitation specifically related to this round of concussion lawsuits. This means you may have to sign up with a representative firm soon before the filing period expires. More on this shortly from one of the attorneys involved in this suit.
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For a normally quiet time in the off-season, there’s a lot going on. Concussion lawsuits continue to be filed and the latest count indicates there may be over 3,000 retired football players who have filed suits against the NFL to date. We also understand that there may be a possible Statute of Limitation deadline coming up shortly and strongly urge that you get signed up with one of the firms soon if you haven’t done so already.
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Let’s start with a Washington Post article on the concussion lawsuits that featured Dr. Daniel Amen:
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NFL concussions lawsuits aim to improve the damaged brain

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Thanks to our friend, Jennifer Thibeaux, we have a great collection of photographs from our well-attended Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference held April 20 – 22 2012 at The South Point Resort in Las Vegas. Videos and PowerPoints to follow shortly!
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Here’s the slideshow from flickr  (there’s an enlarge button in the lower right hand corner of the slideshow screen if you want to view our slideshow fullscreen; just hit ESC to close fullscreen mode):
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With so many areas to cover this year at our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference, we’ve adopted a broadcast format and assembled discussion panels with audience participation instead of individual speakers for the most part. Each panel will be broadcast as a separate topic covering the most important issues and questions retired players want to know.
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Each panelist will be given an opportunity to talk approximately 5 – 10 minutes about their particular areas of expertise and interest after which 30 – 45 minutes will then be devoted to general discussions and questions from our studio audience and our online viewers. For a list of our panelists and speakers, click HERE. We’ll be posting our Panelists’ Bios shortly.
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All retired players welcome to participate in this live event but be sure to register for your entry pass today - click HERE – and book you flight and room(s) at the South Point as soon as possible! The Conference is open to all retired football players by simply registering to attend. Media and other guests are limited and by invitation only – click HERE to contact us.
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Each panelist will be given an opportunity to talk for approximately 5 – 10 minutes about their particular areas of expertise and interest, after which 30 – 45 minutes will then be devoted to general discussions and questions from our studio audience and our online viewers. For a list of our panelists and speakers, click HERE. We’ll be posting our Panelists’ Bios shortly.
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2012 IFV Conference Schedule

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave will be heading in to the hospital tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for his scheduled total right hip replacement. We’ll keep you posted on his progress. In the meantime, we’ve been following the growing number of new concussion and helmet lawsuits over the past couple of months from all across the country. It’s been hard keeping up with all the details and lawyers and players behind each suit. Last week, many of them were consolidated in a Federal Court in Pennsylvania under Judge Anita Brody. Dave asked one of his attorneys, Jason Luckasevic, from the firm Goldberg Persky & White, to provide an overview and summary of what has happened so far.
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Football damaged my brain and it didn’t have to happen

GEORGE VISGER, a former 49er, tells his story
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Due to the size and speed of today’s football players, the kinetic energy they generate during hits can have long-term consequences. Here’s my story:
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My football career began at age 11 in 1970 when I suited up for the West Stockton Bear Cubs, the first Pee Wee Pop Warner team fielded in Stockton, Calif. Of the 29 kids on the team, three went on to sign NFL contracts in 1980 (myself — sixth round, New York Jets; Jack Cosgrove — eighth round, Seattle Seahawks; Pat Bowe — free agent, Green Bay Packers).
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During my third year of Pop Warner, I was hospitalized when I knocked myself unconscious during a tackling drill. The exercise was a needless bull-in-the-ring drill that was more of a gladiator competition for the coaches’ amusement than a means of teaching useful techniques to young players.
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The coaches had us form a big circle about 25 yards across and numbered the 40 of us 1 to 20 on each side. When your number was called, you and the player on the other side with the same number sprinted directly at each other and hit head-to-head.
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Concussions followed throughout my high school career, though I never missed a game or practice. In my senior year, we went 11-0 and ranked No. 3 in California. I was selected to the All-America Top 100 Team.
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I entered the University of Colorado on a football scholarship in 1976 as a 6-foot, 5-inch 235-pound defensive tackle, majoring in biology. I was a starter for three years and suffered a number of minor concussions, but I never missed a play except after leg injuries.
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Turning pro

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Some Weekend Reading Sept 23rd

23 September 2011

Some reading material for your weekend. We have a recent newsletter from Hausfeld LLP and Zelle Hofmann that provides an update on much of what’s been happening with the retired players’ lawsuit as well as recent information and links of interest to football players and fans alike regarding concussions. They also provide some straight-forward analysis of the new CBA and how it will affect retirees’ benefits that you probably won’t be hearing from the NFLPA any time soon.
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And Sports Life Magazine’s Rick Kelsheimer spoke with us last month about Dave’s long battle with the NFL and the NFLPA and was gracious enough to provide us with an advance copy of his story that will appear in the October 2011 edition.
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We uploaded full copies of the newsletter and the Sports Life article 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): continue reading »


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Spencer Kopf put in a full hour interview with Sports Life Radio on Tuesday evening and we have the link to the entire piece (just click on the Red PLAY arrow and the interview will start):
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And once it starts playing, you can turn the volume up using the volume button:
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So here’s Spencer’s interview:
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http://www.hvtalkradio.com/phocadownload/SLR
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BTW – Robert also did a one-hour interview on last week’s show (and didn’t want to post it up):
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http://www.hvtalkradio.com/phocadownload/SLR
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And for those of us with shorter attention spans, the highlights are now up on YouTube from our June 20th 2011 Retired Football Players Press Conference. We’ve uploaded it to YouTube in HD – you can enlarge it to full screen for easier viewing using the enlarge button in the lower right corner of the video window.
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And once again, thanks to Jennifer Thibeaux and her crew. We’re working on shorter individual clips to also be posted daily on YouTube over the following weeks to keep this issue front and center with the fans and general public. Retired Players are NOT going away!
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And for those of us with shorter attention spans, the highlights are now up on YouTube from our June 20th 2011 Retired Football Players Press Conference. We’ve uploaded it to YouTube in HD – you can enlarge it to full screen for easier viewing using the enlarge button in the lower right corner of the video window.
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And once again, thanks to Jennifer Thibeaux and her crew. We’re working on shorter individual clips to also be posted daily on YouTube over the following weeks to keep this issue front and center with the fans and general public. Retired Players are NOT going away!
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And a little something extra: Hall-of-Famer Gale Sayers is mad too!
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HOW YOU CAN HELP: Click on the Like button on YouTube, as well as passing these videos along to all of your friends. You can also post our video links to your Facebook page if you have a Facebook account and Tweet it to Twitter (you can use those buttons at the bottom of each of our posts). And please be sure to click on the Sign Our Petition link at the top of the sidebar on the right to let everyone know you support these guys!
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We’re back from attending the Press Conference at the Press Club in Washington DC. Thanks to the incredible efforts of the teams at Hausfeld LLC and Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason and Carl Eller, everything came off even better than anyone could have expected. Retired players who attended the conference included Carl, Irv Cross (who moderated), George Visger, Joe DeLamielleure, Lem Barney, Conrad Dobler, Paul Krause, Elvin Bethea and Greg Koch. For the first part of the conference, the retirees were also joined by a group of active players who also made statements in support of the retired players efforts, which included Brendon Ayanbadejo, Duane Starks, Will Witherspoon, Hannibal Navies, Sean James, Anthony Adams, Duane Starks, Stalker McDougal and Mike Dean. We had a strong media presence and there was also a lot of attendance on the conference phone line provided.
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We have video of the entire event and will be posting clips from the news conference over the next few days along with a full version of the entire meeting (thanks to our friend, Jennifer Thibeaux, and her young assistant, Elizabeth). And here’s a slideshow of pictures from Reuters News Service at the conference (Click on the picture to open the slideshow in another window):
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(c) 2011 Jonathan Ernst - Reuters News Service

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Attorney Carl Lopez graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1975 and is a member of the Washington State Bar and President of Lopez & Fantel, a Seattle law firm. He has been named multiple times to Law and Politics Magazine’s list of Washington Super Lawyers. He’s also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates and Multimillion Dollar Advocates. Selected for “The Best Lawyers in America.” Carl is a certified Contract Advisor, with his first NFL contract negotiation in 1978; among players represented are Jack Thompson and more recently, Robbie Tobeck.
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On very short notice, Carl managed to fly in just for the day from Seattle and gives an overview on the current CBA and the Union’s decertification with an emphasis on how it will affect retired players directly. Carl also reveals some fascinating anecdotes from his many years of dealing with the NFLPA and the NFL while representing many players.
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(Our videos are hosted on Vimeo in HD and you can watch them full screen by clicking on the Expand button in the lower right corner of the video window.)
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IFV Conference – Carl Lopez from Jennifer Thibeaux on Vimeo.

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