At long last, more than 80 pending concussion-related lawsuits have been consolidated in a "master complaint" -- filed today in Philadelphia -- that accuses the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries. Plaintiffs intend to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players now suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's, and other neurological conditions.
Former Eagles and Patriots running back Kevin Turner is a plaintiff with Lou Gehrig's disease:
I want this game to be around, to be a great sport, a sport that my own boys will be able to play and enjoy all the benefits I believe that football has. Let's face it and be honest, I feel like the NFL has over the past decades -- at least until '08 or '09 -- kind of turned a blind eye to the seriousness of not only concussions... but the cumulative effect of (hits) and how these retired players are having so much difficulty in getting along in their daily lives.
The suit accuses the NFL of "mythologizing" and glorifying violence:
The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result. Despite its knowledge and controlling role in governing player conduct on and off the field, the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem.
According to an Associated Press review of 81 lawsuits filed through May 25, the plaintiffs include 2,138 former players. The master suit contains a provision to allow other players to join it as plaintiffs and attorneys expect that to happen.