USAToday: Chargers 'devastated' by ex-DB Paul Oliver's suicide at 29    League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, will air on FRONTLINE on October 8 & 15. Check your local listings    LA Times: Deion Sanders, critic of NFL concussion suits, seeks workers' comp    FOXSports: NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits    Sean Pamphilon's United States of Football in theaters starting Aug 23rd!    Washington Post: Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?    You can catch all the posts and videos from our recent Third Annual Football Veterans Conference - everything now posted here on Dave's Blog!

Last night, PBS aired their full two-hour documentary League of Denial on Frontline and the accompanying book from Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru.
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Thanks to PBS, you can now watch the entire movie in Full Screen mode by clicking on the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner when you move your cursor over the video as it starts to play.
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Concussion Collision

2 October 2013

1959 Three Stooges
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So the end of September has come and gone. No sign of any details on that incredible once-in-a-lifetime $765 million proposed settlement offer to retired players for concussion damages that was supposed to have been available by the end of September. More retired players have died in the meantime. But no worries: Maybe they’re waiting to watch the documentary and read the book. Next week on October 8th, PBS will air their entire two-hour documentary League of Denial on Frontline and the accompanying book from Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru will also be available online at Amazon: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

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As with most lawsuits where there’s lots of money involved, a lot of coattail riding has gone on with the NFL concussion lawsuits and some have questioned why we’ve been so adamant in recommending Jason Luckasevic and his firm Goldberg Persky White (and his partners Girardi Keese and Russomanno & Borrello) to represent you. Jason was the original attorney who spent years of personal time in researching and pulling together all the details and partners necessary to finally file a solid lawsuit on behalf of his first clients. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you’ll be able to read four chapters in the Fainaru Brothers’ book dedicated to the behind-the-scenes stories leading up to the filing of those first lawsuits.
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You can also read the full accompanying article on ESPN – click HERE.
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Patrick Hruby: Don’t Settle

18 September 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of the more insightful pieces on the proposed settlement offer from NFL to the retired players’ concussion lawsuits. Re-posted from Sports on Earth with permission from Patrick Hruby.
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Don’t Settle
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Settle for Less
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Eleanor Perfetto watched her husband shrivel, and she watched him die. Near the end, Ralph Wenzel was a husk: a once strapping and energetic 225-pound former National Football League lineman, down to 145 pounds, eating mashed-up doughnuts, unable to walk or bathe himself, his mind unraveled by dementia. He was posthumously diagnosed with both Alzheimers and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the latter neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head; a scientist who examined his 69-year-old brain said it had shrunk to the approximate size of an infant’s. Wenzel’s dissolution was slow. Horrific. So Perfetto understands. Understands the pain. Understands the relief over the proposed $765 million settlement of the NFL concussion lawsuits, the eagerness to assist the former players in the most dire need — and their families, too — while calling off a long, draining legal fight.
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Still, Perfetto can’t help but feel torn. Torn that the league is just walking away, cash left on the nightstand. Admitting nothing.
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“This is a positive step, good for the players and families that need help now,” says Perfetto, a senior director at Pfizer and one of the over 4,600 former players and their family members who have sued the NFL. “But I’m very disappointed that the league gets to continue to deny the relationship between head injury and the illnesses that we see. They’re not taking on any culpability. And we will never know the timeline of just how long they have known this and the extent of them blocking it as much as they could. That will be kept secret unless some whistleblower comes forward in the future.”
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When it comes to mixed feelings, Perfetto is hardly alone. Former All-Pro defensive back Bruce Laird worries that the settlement won’t be large enough to cover the brain trauma-related medical needs of all current and future players. Retired linebacker Scott Fujita believes that full NFL disclosure – what, exactly, did the league’s executives and denialist doctors know, and when did they first know it? – is a public health matter. Retired lineman Kevin Mawae likens the pending deal totaking it 99 yards, but not getting that last yard” and taking “a little bit of our milk money back” from a schoolyard bully while getting a “promise that he won’t touch us again.” On the other hand, all three former players — Laird is a plaintiff in the lawsuits; Mawae and Fujita are not — are pleased that peers like former NFL fullback and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis sufferer Kevin Turner will receive concrete financial assistance sooner rather than later. For that matter, so is Turner: in a recent USA Today editorial, he wrote that many of us also feared that a resolution would take years. That this agreement happened so quickly lifts an enormous burden off of our shoulders. We will get the care and security we need now, without being forced to wait for years of litigation to work its course. Indeed, NFL executives, plaintiff’s lawyers and mediator Layn Phillips all have framed the pending settlement as a choice between competing goals: plaintiffs can push for more money and evidence of league wrongdoing via a bruising court battle that could last years, or they can help men like Turner as quickly as possible. They cannot do both.
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Or can they?
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To borrow Mawae’s metaphor, the concussion plaintiffs don’t have to take a knee at the goal line. Nor do they have to abandon their brothers in need. They can help men such as Turner and continue to fight. They don’t need to take a crummy deal. They can demand something better. They should demand something better. They have more potential resources — more potential leverage — than commonly believed.
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Now is not the time to settle.
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Start with the money. Suppose retired players had as much as $493.7 million available to them over the next eight years, earmarked for medical care and financial assistance. Would that change the settlement equation? Guess what: this money isn’t hypothetical. It’s real. Available now. Available since last year. A pot of cash hiding in plain sight, roughly equivalent to the $495 million NFL is scheduled to dole out over the first eight years of the proposed deal.
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Pull up the league’s current collective bargaining agreement. Go to page 78. Look for Section 5: Joint Contribution Amount. You’ll find an annual fiscal carve-out from the players’ share of football revenues, starting at $55 million in 2012 and increasing at compounded rate of five percent annually through 2020. Who controls this money? Where is it going? That’s where things get interesting. And frankly, a bit curious. According to the CBA:.

  • $22 million “shall be dedicated to healthcare or other benefits, funds, or programs for retired players as determined by the NFLPA”;
  • $11 million “shall be dedicated to medical research, as agreed to by the parties”;
  • $22 million “shall be dedicated to charities as determined by the NFL, including NFL Charities and/or Youth Football or successor organizations.”

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Hypocrite of the Decade

6 September 2013

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baby Deion
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What was it that Deion Sanders said a while back about how other retired players are whining because concussions don’t exist? Here’s our earlier post along with accompanying comments - click HERE to read our earlier post.
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latest-newsThe NFL’s $765 million concussion settlement offer was announced a little over 24 hours ago and the firestorm of coverage and analysis is the talk of the media already. We won’t be privy to seeing the actual Settlement Offer until after the hearing in Philadelphia in front of Judge Brody’s court on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a short collection of some of the articles that bring up a lot of observations and opinions based on the initial details released with the announcement.
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BREAKING: From the Associated Press and just released on FOX Sports:
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FOX Sports

NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits

Published August 29, 2013
Associated Press
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PHILADELPHIA – The NFL and more than 4,500 former players want to resolve concussion-related lawsuits with a $765 million settlement that would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation and medical research, a federal judge said Thursday.
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The plaintiffs include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: In his usual detailed manner, Evan Weiner takes a very interesting look at ESPN and its long-standing business relationship with the NFL over the years and how it resulted in ESPN’s withdrawal from their partnership with PBS Frontline. The League of Denial documentary on football concussions is now front and center in the media – not exactly what they expected when they made that decision to pull out. Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner:
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ESPN’s Football Faux Pas, NFL Concussions League of Denial
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By Evan Weiner
August 29, 2013
SportsTalkFlorida
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Goodell_WhaaaMake no mistake; the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN cable TV networks are not set up to be journalism bastions. There were two stories recently reported in the New York Times which clearly illustrated what ESPN is all about. Disney’s sports franchise pulled out of a partnership with PBS’s Frontline to produce a two-part series on head injuries suffered by NFL players. The New York Times reported that the National Football League pressured the very company that pays them billions of dollars to get out of the “League of Denial” presentation. The New York Times on Monday carried a piece on the paper’s front page about the ESPN partnership with the University of Louisville and how the company has been a critical component of the rise of the school’s football program.
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Yesterday, we posted an update on the NFL concussion coverup with ESPN and mentioned the unintended consequences of The Streisand Effect. (Click HERE to read the entry on Wikipedia.) Well, you know it’s becoming a major embarrassment and a joke when it starts to get attention on the other side of the world where they don’t even watch American football. This morning, the Taiwanese television network that produces those funny NMA animations on YouTube have already done their take on the NFL/ESPN coverup.
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This isn’t going away any time soon – thanks, NFL. We couldn’t have done a better job ourselves!
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Judge Judy Shake My HeadWell, it looks like retired players may finally be getting the NFL’s attention. When they start trying to censor the conversation, you know they’re getting worried. After years of simply denying and spinning out fiction with phony committees and lying “doctor” experts, the League started a new PR initiative to give the appearance of caring about their employees, the very ingredient that makes up the NFL Money Machine. You have new safety rules and even slick posters put up in all the team locker rooms. But absolutely nothing substantial has been done to address the consequences from decades of denial and ignoring the damage done to the lives of all the men from years past. . continue reading »

This new video about Elliot Pellman – Dr. YES of the NFL’s former MILD Traumatic Brain Injury Committee with his counterpart Dr. NO Ira Casson – is part of the recent disclosure that he was also Paul Tagliabue’s personal physician. This is one more important piece of evidence in the case against the NFL in the concussion lawsuits.
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Read the entire article on ESPN by clicking HERE.
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Nothing more we can add to this.
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Schutt Helmet Warning Label

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hot summerEDITOR’S NOTE: September looks like it’s probably going to be a very hot month for the NFL, with two important hearings in two separate lawsuits.
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All objections and Opt Outs against the NFL Films Settlement offer have to be filed by August 30, 2013 and the hearing will be on September 19 in Minneapolis MN. Mark your calendars.
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Last Monday, Judge Anita Brody ordered the NFL and the retired players in the concussion lawsuits into mediation and appointed a mediator, retired US District Court Judge Layn Phillips. As you’ll see in the copy of the order issued below, there is now a gag order preventing all parties from publicly disclosing any details of the mediation discussions. What’s interesting to note is that the judge did not acknowledge the CBA and the NFL’s argument for arbitration.
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Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first pathologist to uncover the presence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in the brains of retired football players. It all started when Mike Webster’s body ended up on his examination table in Pittsburgh in 2002. As assistant coroner in Pittsburgh at the time, Dr. Omalu sought permission to examine Webster’s brain. In the years following, several more retired football players bodies arrived in their morgue including Andree Waters. Since then, Dr. Omalu has become the chief coroner in San Joaquin and has continued his work on CTE and advancing the study of brain trauma in society in general and football in particular. The NFL has been trying to discredit Dr. Omalu for over 10 years. Dr. Omalu is probably on the NFL’s Top 10 Most Hated List with the NFL. You can read his biography by clicking HERE.
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YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video.
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With last-minute itinerary changes and arrivals, we’ve been juggling our Conference schedule to accommodate everything. And we’ve also made some minor additions to our schedule as well in order to cover some very recent events that we believe most of the retired player community will want to hear about.
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Here’s a list of our Panelists with biographies:
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Bennett OmaluDr. Bennet Omalu
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Dr. Omalu received his MB, BS [M.D.] degree from the University of Nigeria in 1991. He received his MPH [Masters in Public Health] degree in Epidemiology from University of Pittsburgh in 2004. He also received his MBA [Masters in Business Administration] degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Dr. Omalu holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology and Neuropathology. Dr. Omalu is also board certified in Medical Management and is a Certified Physician Executive [CPE].
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Wow! A lot has happened in the past week as we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Conference! We’re edging closer to the vote on AB 1309 in California which will disqualify most professional athletes from Workers Compensation claims in the state. (Click HERE to read the actual bill that’s coming up for a vote as early as next week.)
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More news is coming out about Riddell’s prior knowledge about helmet safety and real their lack of protection from concussions. (Click HERE to read the latest piece from PBS Frontline.)
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And the behind-the-scenes story is also now emerging about the fight for Junior Seau’s brain after he committed suicide. (Click HERE to read that article also on PBS Frontline.)
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Then we have the NFL Alumni pushing a wide press release about a new miracle drug that will not only be an antidepressant but also possibly heal your brain with new stem cells. Only problem is that this drug is from a relatively new company that’s only beginning early-stage trials that only require a few participants and not the thousands that the Alumni (NFL) seems to be wanting to enlist for some strange reason. Retired players will need all the information they can get if they’re to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate in this – or any drug trial – as we continue to move forward with the concussion lawsuits.
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And the NFL Films lawsuit will now be moving into the notification stage to all players involved in the class. We’ll be having representatives from both sides of the Settlement Offer to present their arguments on Saturday so you can make an informed decision.
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We’ll be covering each of these new topics with experts from their fields at our IFV Conference. Watch for live posts and videos during the two days of discussions. And if you can make it down to Las Vegas, we can promise this will be the most informative two days that retired football players won’t want to miss.
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Watch this Blog for more details.
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