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More Double Talk Today at Senate Hearing Examining NFL Disability Plan

I was privileged to attend the United States Commerce Committee oversight hearing today on issues pertaining the National Football League's Disability Plan and a follow up press conference hosted by Gridirons Greats, an organization of retired players headed by Mike Ditka and dedicated to achieving fairness and fair dealing for disabled players..

Unfortunately, what I heard was a lot of double talk.  While I commend NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his willingness to discuss the issues surrounding the plan, take the heat and pledge reform,I really didn't hear anything that was new or different.  The true issue is how the plan gets the final say on whether or not the player has permanent brain damage.  At the conclusion of the hearing I had an opportunity to meet with Gene Upshaw, head of NFL Player's Association.  I offered to meet with him in New York or anywhere else to discuss the serious issues of traumatic brain injury and the devastating nature of this condition.  He seemed interested.  Let's hope he contacts me so we can have a serious discussion and open a dialog.

They can change all the definitions of disability they want, but when the league gets to pick its own medical consultants who have the final say and the player gets no opportunity to challenge the decision, no matter how arbitrary or capricious it is, that violates fundamental principals of fairness and due process.

I have sadly been asked to review files of former players whose have been turned down by the league despite overwhelming evidence of brain damage suffered while playing professional football.  The league will keep looking until it finds a doctor to disagree with the multiple medical experts who have already concluded that a disability exists.  They will then chose to follow the recommendation of their bought and paid for, so called medical expert.

As I have previously said, When it comes to concussions and legal determinations as to whether a player has sustained brain damage, the league's position is heads I win, tails you lose.  It is outrageous that the league has stacked the deck against its retired and disabled players. It's time for Congress to act and rectify the injustices that have deprived victim's of brain trauma their legal rights.    They must allow players access to Court's of Law to review these determinations and take away the unfettered discretion that the league now enjoys.



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