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Frank Gifford and CTE : It's time that the NFL gets serious

Former professional football player and TV commentator Frank Gifford, who died in August at age 84, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease.  The only known cause of this condition is repetitive head trauma.  Gifford played in the NFL for 12 years and during that time suffered from repetitive head trauma.

“We as a family made the difficult decision to have his brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury,” Gifford’s family said in a statement released Wednesday.

Although all the details of Frank Gifford’s condition in the last years of his life are not known, the fact that CTE was found on autopsy adds further weight to the mounting evidence that football is a concussion delivery system causing permanent consequences to players.  The fact that Gifford and all players diagnosed with this condition past the settlement date in the NFL class action concussion litigation is further proof that the settlement that was reached was unfair and needs to be rejected by the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals.   

The danger of CTE is something that the NFL can no longer hide from all ignore.  Players with this condition must be compensated and effective measures must be put in place to reduce to present and future players.  It’s time to end the double talk of the NFL and get serious about head injury and brain damage.  

The family said it decided to disclose his condition “to honor Frank’s legacy of promoting player safety dating back to his involvement in the formation of the NFL Players Association in the 1950s.”

My partner, Shana De Caro and I authored the amicus brief on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America arguing against the NFL settlement. We argued to the court that the settlement was junk science and was not a fair or balanced settlement for players suffering from brain damage.

For more information, read the story on ESPN: Hall of Fame player Frank Gifford suffered from CTE, family says.

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