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No free pass for the NFL when it comes to brain damage

My readers know that for many years, I have commented on the NFL's poor record when it comes to concussions and traumatic brain injury.  Not only has the league set the wrong example for those engaged in youth sports but the league has consistently refused to honor its obligations to those players who have received tragic brain injuries in the past.

I am honored that this Sunday, the New York Times printed by letter to the editor, "N.F.L Pays Lip Service to Player's Long Term Disability"

I am reprinting the letter below:

To the Sports Editor:

Re “N.F.L. Asserts Greater Risks of Head Injury,” July 26:

The continuous refusal by the lawyers retained by the N.F.L. to accept the association between long-term disability and concussions exemplifies their disingenuous position when confronting the issue of brain damage. It is implausible that these lawyers are acting without the full knowledge and approval of their client.

The league is now doing a better job of paying lip service to acknowledging the long-term disability associated with concussions. But it remains steadfast in its refusal to fulfill its fiduciary obligations under the disability retirement plan and adequately compensate those players who have sacrificed their brains and lives while the league owners have continued to reap the financial benefits.

It would be interesting to know what initiatives the league was undertaking to review the disability files of all those players who have been wrongfully denied brain-injury-associated disability payments, with their purported better understanding of traumatic brain injury.

It may be that the only way to obtain justice for these players is to require a truly independent review of these files or surrender the cloak of immunity behind which the league hides and consent to a full and fair court hearing.

Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. 

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