Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:46 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,454
Football Concussions, the next Big Thing?

As I understand later this year in Philadelphia a federal class suit will address brain injuries in football.

Football teams are big companies. The NFL acts as a cartel. Add in youth football programs, which at some high schools and colleges bill themselves as money-making operations with unpaid workers.

We would have to agree, I suppose that at some point (2010? 2000? 1990? 1980?) Big Football knew that their game was injuring the workers. This is a game that was willing to change the rules to protect quarterbacks. But Big Football did nothing (as I understand it). The continued to make money by injuring the workers.

On the other hand, the players are very well paid, at least at the top level. Further, I suppose you could say the player knew what the game involved.

How should the court rule? Is Football a conspiracy as Big Tobacco is? Or perhaps the injured players have no room to complain?
  #2  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:29 AM
furt furt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 9,285
It's the current Big Thing.

The really big issue is not going to be the NFL; they have deep pockets to defend themselves, the players are all consenting adults arguably well aware of the risks, and it's going to be hard to prove they were negligent w/r/t concussions.

At the high school and lower levels, the money isn't there, and you're already have anecdotal stories of fathers -- not mothers, fathers -- steering their sons away from the game because of the concussion risks.

I think this scenario is very, very possible:

Quote:
This slow death march could easily take 10 to 15 years. Imagine the timeline. A couple more college players — or worse, high schoolers — commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE. A jury makes a huge award of $20 million to a family. A class-action suit shapes up with real legs, the NFL keeps changing its rules, but it turns out that less than concussion levels of constant head contact still produce CTE. Technological solutions (new helmets, pads) are tried and they fail to solve the problem. Soon high schools decide it isn't worth it. The Ivy League quits football, then California shuts down its participation, busting up the Pac-12. Then the Big Ten calls it quits, followed by the East Coast schools. Now it's mainly a regional sport in the southeast and Texas/Oklahoma. The socioeconomic picture of a football player becomes more homogeneous: poor, weak home life, poorly educated. Ford and Chevy pull their advertising, as does IBM and eventually the beer companies.

There's a lot less money in the sport, and at first it's "the next hockey" and then it's "the next rugby," and finally the franchises start to shutter.
  #3  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:14 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,454
If a school board even suspects they are causing injury to the students, it stands to reason some fancy lawyer is going to make them pay without regards to waivers signed by parents. I do not see how the sport can't be doomed, starting at the bottom and working its way up.
__________________
800-237-5055
Shrine Hospitals for Children (North America)
Never any fee
Do you know a child in need?
  #4  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:28 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,343
My kids school is concussion nuts right now.

My daughter does not play football. In fact, she's the kid who gets hit on the head with the volleyball during gym class because she - well, she's that kid. And when she does, I have to pick her up from school, keep an eye on her, and am told it might be best (but its my decision) to take her to the emergency room and make sure there is no concussion. Three times last year (volleyball, elbow to the head during floor hockey, soccer).

It will die from the bottom up - schools don't have funding to fend off lawsuits. There may be more leagues outside of the school distract, which can fold and reform, to keep the kids playing, but I don't suspect our middle school will field a team in five years, and that will starve off the high school team.

Which around here is happening anyway - the kids start outside of the school district in elementary school, long before the school district offers sports. The season overlaps, and the boys who have been playing traveling football still do. The school teams aren't as good as the club teams.
__________________
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
  #5  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:04 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,454
How could the local "Pop Warner" people keep going as insurance rates go up?
__________________
800-237-5055
Shrine Hospitals for Children (North America)
Never any fee
Do you know a child in need?
  #6  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:17 AM
Kearsen Kearsen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: austin texas
Posts: 1,795
You could make a case that in this particular sport, technology has hurt.
Back when people were wearing leather helmets, they didn't lead with their head.
You don't hear about class action lawsuits in Rugby...

Last edited by Kearsen; 07-19-2012 at 09:18 AM.
  #7  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:34 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,852
As a matter of public policy, courts likely to enforce properly drafted releases for amateur athletic participation on the grounds that not doing so would shut down many such programs.

When they don't, it's generally because:
1. The release or accompanying documentation did not accurately describe the risks involved;
2. There was no opportunity for the releasor to study it beforehand or consult with counsel (as in, you show up for a marathon and they give you the waiver form ten minutes before the race starts);
3. The waiver did not apply to the risk in question (you waived liability before participating in a football game, and got shot by a spectator);
4. The waiver was not voluntary (a student fails PE if he doesn't run around the track, and has to sign a waiver before running); or,
5. The release was signed by a parent on behalf of a minor. In a number of states, a parent cannot waive a child's cause of action, only their own on behalf of the child.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kearsen View Post
Back when people were wearing leather helmets, they didn't lead with their head. You don't hear about class action lawsuits in Rugby...
Sure you do. Kyriazis v. University of West Virginia, 450 S.E.2d 649 (W. Va. 1994).
  #8  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:45 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,499
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kearsen View Post
You could make a case that in this particular sport, technology has hurt.
Back when people were wearing leather helmets, they didn't lead with their head.
You don't hear about class action lawsuits in Rugby...
I've read about this before, that helmets and padding have made football more dangerous rather than less.

Is there any possibility of football remaining popular if head-strikes are banned?
  #9  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:56 AM
Cheesesteak's Avatar
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 12,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by furt View Post
The really big issue is not going to be the NFL; they have deep pockets to defend themselves, the players are all consenting adults arguably well aware of the risks, and it's going to be hard to prove they were negligent w/r/t concussions.:
As this goes to court, I think what's going to play out is the visceral difference between musculoskeletal injuries and brain injuries. I expect that players would simply have to live with their injuries, bad knees, backs, walk with a cane or need even a wheelchair in later life. I don't think people are going to feel the same way about brain injury, where a 50 year old man can't remember his grandchildren's names. Our brains are what fundamentally make us who we are, it's what separates us from animals, what allows us to take part in our society, take that away, and you are dehumanized.

The last thing Football is going to want is a parade of men with broken brains getting on the stand to prove how football has taken away their ability to simply be people.
  #10  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:12 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Again, Titletown
Posts: 21,867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I've read about this before, that helmets and padding have made football more dangerous rather than less.
Keep in mind that people were dying on a regular basis in the earliest days of football, to the point where it was almost banned. The safety gear and rule changes back in the early 1900's were directly to address this problem.

http://symonsez.wordpress.com/2010/1...united-states/
Quote:
In 1905, there was roughly one-fifth the number of college football players as there are today, yet, 18 were killed and 159 severely injured in that one year alone.
  #11  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:12 AM
Kearsen Kearsen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: austin texas
Posts: 1,795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I've read about this before, that helmets and padding have made football more dangerous rather than less.

Is there any possibility of football remaining popular if head-strikes are banned?

Of course, before the technology football was popular. Even with the advent of rules favoring less contact (for QB's currently and receivers received some benefit as well)
I think people like violence but it certainly is tempered a bit by exactly 'how much' they allow.

Look at MMA fighting, it has grown in popularity since they implemented rules regarding violence. It started as a 'no rules' type of event and no one watched and worse, they couldn't get solid sponsorship.
  #12  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:23 AM
brickbacon brickbacon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 4,895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
It will die from the bottom up - schools don't have funding to fend off lawsuits. There may be more leagues outside of the school distract, which can fold and reform, to keep the kids playing, but I don't suspect our middle school will field a team in five years, and that will starve off the high school team.
They won't have to. There is going to be clear precedent established at the higher levels that makes it clear that such lawsuits are frivolous. More importantly, the NFL certainly has a stake in such cases, and is not going to let case law build up at lower levels that could later be used against them.

Plus, injury cases would stand even less of a chance towards the bottom because the types of injuries people are upset about are cumulative injuries that happen over time. This is just the latest fad, replacing suing fast food companies for making you fat. I don't say that to minimize the injuries people are suffering, but it's pretty obvious that repeatably being tacked to the ground is gonna have deleterious heath consequences. Yes, the effect of concussions is fairly new, but I think people know football is generally dangerous considering people die playing football every year.
  #13  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:17 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I've read about this before, that helmets and padding have made football more dangerous rather than less.

Is there any possibility of football remaining popular if head-strikes are banned?
As someone already mentioned, back in the early 20th century football was a much more dangerous sport. Aside from helmets and pads another big change has been in the athletes themselves. The average weight of an NFL lineman is over 300 pounds and he's no couch potato. They move quickly, are very strong and on almost every single play they slam into the guy in front of them as hard as they can. According to one website, the average NFL lineman is 119 pounds heavier than his counterpart from a century ago. I can't help but think part of the problem is simply the size and strength of modern players compared

We've talked a lot about concussions in this thread but the problem goes beyond that. Hasn't there been a lot of talk that many of the people from the NFL with Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) didn't suffer from repeated concussions during their career? That repeated head trauma that didn't result in concussions can lead to CTE?
  #14  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:21 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by brickbacon View Post
I don't say that to minimize the injuries people are suffering, but it's pretty obvious that repeatably being tacked to the ground is gonna have deleterious heath consequences. Yes, the effect of concussions is fairly new, but I think people know football is generally dangerous considering people die playing football every year.
I only played football through high school and while I never worried about injuries I certainly knew they were a possibility. Most of those injuries were limited to things like broken bones, concussions, torn ligaments, and minor contusions & lacerations. It never ever occurred to me that being tacked to the ground on multiple occasinos would have any deleterious health consequences. I got tacked and knocked around quite a bit over a period of five years and was fine. So no, it's not obvious.
  #15  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:26 AM
Barkis is Willin' Barkis is Willin' is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 6,247
This NFL class action suit is, at least partly, the result of former players not having any money left. Where is the outcry from the current players? Rather than support the arguments of the former players, they mostly complain about rules changes to make the game safer and admit to hiding injuries so that they could keep playing. I guarantee some of those former players trying to get money from the NFL also hid injuries to stay on the field and if they ever admit to it, their case is out the window. They had a choice to play football or not.

As for youth football, yes I can see the concussion craze putting the sport's popularity on a slight decline for kids.
  #16  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:31 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,852
Quote:
Originally Posted by brickbacon View Post
They won't have to. There is going to be clear precedent established at the higher levels that makes it clear that such lawsuits are frivolous. More importantly, the NFL certainly has a stake in such cases, and is not going to let case law build up at lower levels that could later be used against them.
In what sense are they frivolous? Fast food joints publish nutritional information. Amateur sports leagues don't publicize injury statistics.
  #17  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:31 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,499
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkis is Willin' View Post
They had a choice to play football or not.
And, thus ... ?
  #18  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:33 AM
brickbacon brickbacon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 4,895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I only played football through high school and while I never worried about injuries I certainly knew they were a possibility. Most of those injuries were limited to things like broken bones, concussions, torn ligaments, and minor contusions & lacerations. It never ever occurred to me that being tacked to the ground on multiple occasinos would have any deleterious health consequences. I got tacked and knocked around quite a bit over a period of five years and was fine. So no, it's not obvious.
Those injuries are deleterious heath consequences. Some are limited in their duration (eg. broken bones), but others can last far longer (eg. concussions, torn ligaments). That was known in large part even before these recent studies. The term, "punch drunk" has been around for a while. People, at least anecdotally, have known getting hit in the head for a living, or as recreation, is generally not good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
We've talked a lot about concussions in this thread but the problem goes beyond that. Hasn't there been a lot of talk that many of the people from the NFL with Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) didn't suffer from repeated concussions during their career? That repeated head trauma that didn't result in concussions can lead to CTE?
Yeah. The current thinking is that repeated sub-concussive impacts can have a cumulative effect. That said, one problem is, AFAIK, these injuries are only able to be conclusively diagnosed by studying actual brain tissue after death. Since you won't likely see kids exhibiting symptoms, let alone dying from these things, it will likely be hard to win a case from that angle against a pop warner league or a high school.
  #19  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:39 AM
brickbacon brickbacon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 4,895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
In what sense are they frivolous? Fast food joints publish nutritional information. Amateur sports leagues don't publicize injury statistics.
Well, now they publish stats, and even so, they are often not easy to find in many localities. Second, pop warner, and most leagues (AFAICT) issue injury stats based on surveys. That said, it's hard for a league to publish accurate results given that they may not even know of injuries. It's not like testing the fat content of a burger, it's closer to tracking how much weight gain can be attributed to people eating burgers.
  #20  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:05 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Posts: 12,454
I have long thought it would be a good idea for all ex-NFL players to donate their brains to science. I bet a lot of good information would come from that.

The issue is, I think, if the employer took all reasonable steps to protect the workers. All it takes is a couple of e-mails showing someone knew and did nothing to bring the whole thing down.
__________________
800-237-5055
Shrine Hospitals for Children (North America)
Never any fee
Do you know a child in need?
  #21  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:33 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,852
It would be a good idea for everybody to donate their brains to science. Not like you'll need it where you're going.
  #22  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:41 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 776
It's not an issue about whether a football player should've known he was at risk of getting concussions. It's the degree to which the risk was downplayed by medical staff, particularly at the time of the concussion. If you have a team doctor clearing you to play later in the same game, a player would reasonably trust that he hadn't done any permanent damage. So, it comes down to what the medical personnel knew and when.

I played in high school and college and used to think along the same lines as those who say "it's a rough game and anybody who plays knows what he's getting into." But, my feelings changed pretty dramatically when I sufferered a massive seizure as a result of a single concussion I got twenty years prior while I was in high school. If I had a son I'd hope he didn't want to play football, and I never would've thought that even five years ago.

That being said, I think the risk of lawsuits should actually go down in short order because, at this point, nobody can reasonably say they didn't understand the risks involved. If you sign a waiver now it would be hard to argue there's any gray area. (Or gray matter if you play too long.) Given the litigious nature of this country, though, that probably won't happen.
  #23  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:50 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
I have long thought it would be a good idea for all ex-NFL players to donate their brains to science. I bet a lot of good information would come from that.
A sobering example of this is Dave Duerson, ex-Chicago Bear who comitted suicide but did it by shooting himself in the chest specifically so his brain could be analyzed.

Last edited by Victor Charlie; 07-19-2012 at 12:52 PM.
  #24  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:56 PM
DSeid's Avatar
DSeid DSeid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 21,276
Schools should be nuts about concussions. It's not "a craze"; it is instead crazy to ignore the dangers and pretend that they do not exist.

The younger a child is the more likely it is that head trauma will cause not only a concussion but the more likely it is for a concussion to have longer and more severe adverse effects. It is a simple matter of the biomechanics: the skull is not as thick and the brain has more room to slosh around on impact causing all kinds of shear stress.

The major issue is giving the brain an adequate chance to heal including but not limited to preventing premature return to play. A second injury on top of even one that the child seems to have recovered from very quickly (a few seconds of confusion and seeing stars, no loss of consciousness or even prolonged confusion required) can cause much more damage with much less force.

Last edited by DSeid; 07-19-2012 at 12:57 PM.
  #25  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:57 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
I Am the One Who Bans
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 78,234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
It's not an issue about whether a football player should've known he was at risk of getting concussions. It's the degree to which the risk was downplayed by medical staff, particularly at the time of the concussion. If you have a team doctor clearing you to play later in the same game, a player would reasonably trust that he hadn't done any permanent damage. So, it comes down to what the medical personnel knew and when.
It's not that simple at all because it's not just the medical staffs. The biggest single issue for the NFL is whether they paid enough attention to the risks and responded appropriately, or if they let it go because they didn't want it to hurt their revenue.
  #26  
Old 07-19-2012, 01:16 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
It's not that simple at all because it's not just the medical staffs. The biggest single issue for the NFL is whether they paid enough attention to the risks and responded appropriately, or if they let it go because they didn't want it to hurt their revenue.
Fair enough, but I wasn't limiting culpability to just the doctors on the field or in the training room, even if my post made it seem so. By medical staff I mean the entire system by which player risk is evaluated. To whatever degree teams or league officials withheld information, you can bet they did it behind the veil of medical professionalism. "Hey, it's not our fault. The experts told us it was a manageable risk." Team doctors have always, in theory, made decisions on the player's behalf independent of team needs. But, there's usually an implied understanding that a player needs to get back on the field as soon as possible because obstructionist doctors don't remain in the employ of a team for long.

From a player's point-of-view, the team doctor was, in most cases, the first and last word on his risk of staying on the field.

Last edited by Victor Charlie; 07-19-2012 at 01:17 PM.
  #27  
Old 07-20-2012, 10:06 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
I see football/concussive injuries as where sexual abuse of children was in the 1980's-people are only now aware of it. My question: did the players waive their rights to sue? The NFL is an immensely rich organization-and team owners are usually billionaires. If one lawsuits succeeds, there will be a landslide of them.
  #28  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:21 PM
Ramanujan Ramanujan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 741
i think the nfl is very right to be worried about this issue, and the class action lawsuit in particular. the question isn't whether players understood the risks—they didn't. the issue is whether the nfl acted in a way that made it more difficult for players to understand the risks, whether they, at an institutional level, fostered an environment that caused players to ignore the risks involved, and whether they themselves ignored the risks in rushing players back from injury.

there is a fairly large preponderance of at least anecdotal evidence that all these things happened for a rather long time, well after it was clear how bad things were. tony dorsett, for example, tells a story of how he was knocked out cold, and pushed back into the game. joe harris tells another story where opposing players were yelling at his coaches because it was obvious to them that he was seriously injured, yet he was told to "get back out there."

yes, players know that you can get hurt playing football. it is only just now becoming clear how bad the consequences of traumatic brain injury or repeated head trauma can be. they might have guessed their bones would ache forever, or that they might get headaches from time to time, though i rather doubt it occurred to most of them to even wonder at the possibility (i played through college—i am still regularly amazed at the damage football did to my body). but the idea that they would be turned into the kind of people who, as in the case of justin strzelczyk, die at age 36 while driving 90 mph the wrong way trying to escape the police (this is the same man who, a few years earlier, invited a friend of mine over to his house to teach him how to play banjo, despite having just met him), was definitely not part of the picture painted for them.

traumatic brain injury and repeated brain trauma have consequences far beyond what the players might have imagined, and probably do imagine even today. if the nfl did anything to cover this up in the name of keeping their workers on the job, they will pay very dearly. and my suspicion is that, given the number of former players who have similar stories about their employers pushing them back to work before they thought they were ready (to say nothing of the culture of the nfl, for which the league is at least partly responsible—by all accounts a pretty swell guy), this is going to be a very big deal indeed.
  #29  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:56 PM
chappachula chappachula is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 5,572
okay, so we all know that football is a dangerous sport.
What about rugby, or Australian football?
The players wear no protection whatsoever--how common are injuries?
Or what about boxing, where the whole point of the sport is to injure someone?

Could the NFL argue in court that American football is safer than rugby or boxing? Could they claim that the NFL is acting properly, as measured by "industry standards" --i.e injury rates in the sports industry?

(I'm referring to the famous case where a lady sued McDonald's for scalding-hot coffee. As I recall, the main issue there was "industry standards" --i.e. comparing McD's injury rate (and coffee temperature) to the same statistics among competitors in the same industry.)

Last edited by chappachula; 07-20-2012 at 02:59 PM.
  #30  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:15 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,499
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
okay, so we all know that football is a dangerous sport.
What about rugby, or Australian football?
The players wear no protection whatsoever--how common are injuries?
Or what about boxing, where the whole point of the sport is to injure someone?

Could the NFL argue in court that American football is safer than rugby or boxing? Could they claim that the NFL is acting properly, as measured by "industry standards" --i.e injury rates in the sports industry?
The term "punch drunk" comes from boxing, so it's well known that being a boxer has serious ramifications.

I don't know what the rate of head injury is in other forms of contact-football.

Quote:
(I'm referring to the famous case where a lady sued McDonald's for scalding-hot coffee. As I recall, the main issue there was "industry standards" --i.e. comparing McD's injury rate (and coffee temperature) to the same statistics among competitors in the same industry.)
I don't think that was the only issue in the case. At least part of it was that McDonald's knew the coffee was dangerously hot, because other people had complained about it, but they chose not to change the temperature, so the initial size of the punitive damages were based on willfullness.
  #31  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:21 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
okay, so we all know that football is a dangerous sport.
What about rugby, or Australian football?
The players wear no protection whatsoever--how common are injuries?
Or what about boxing, where the whole point of the sport is to injure someone?

Could the NFL argue in court that American football is safer than rugby or boxing? Could they claim that the NFL is acting properly, as measured by "industry standards" --i.e injury rates in the sports industry?

(I'm referring to the famous case where a lady sued McDonald's for scalding-hot coffee. As I recall, the main issue there was "industry standards" --i.e. comparing McD's injury rate (and coffee temperature) to the same statistics among competitors in the same industry.)
The difference between American football and rugby/aussie rules is that in the latter they tackle, but in the former they collide. That difference is profound. The protection American players wear actually increases the danger. It may keep low speed tackles from injuring you, but it's the high-speed ones where players launch at each other (plays not attempted by players without pads) that can be catastrophic. Even the regular low speed pounding interior linemen take on every play can have a disastrous cumulative effect because players don't protect their heads because they're wearing helmets.

Plus, in rugby and aussie the players are of more or less equal size. You don't have 180 pound receivers getting obliterated by 280 pound linebackers who can run 40 yards in under 4.5 seconds from a dead stop.

As for the McD's coffee suit, if the people who scoff at it ever read the actual details of the suit they'd be singing a different tune. That lawsuit was legit.

Last edited by Victor Charlie; 07-20-2012 at 03:25 PM.
  #32  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:21 PM
Crotalus's Avatar
Crotalus Crotalus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Posts: 5,964
I don't think that making the players aware of the risks of CTE and getting signed waivers is ultimately going to make any difference. And I don't think CTE is getting more common, it's just getting diagnosed more often now in a way that associates it with sports. What this will eventually lead to, I believe, is an end to violent contact sports at all levels. At the lower end, there will be enough parental awareness that there won't be enough kids to field teams. At the upper end, enough non-fans and casual fans will grow completely disgusted with the idea that our entertainment is resulting in CTE that protests and laws will enter the picture. There will either be rule changes that render the pro football unrecognizable, or it will go away altogether.
  #33  
Old 07-20-2012, 10:54 PM
Cugel Cugel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Canberra
Posts: 858
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
The difference between American football and rugby/aussie rules is that in the latter they tackle, but in the former they collide.
Also, in rugby league, there's no reason to put your head in danger. Concussions usually come from illegalities or accidents.
  #34  
Old 07-20-2012, 11:39 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 11,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Or what about boxing, where the whole point of the sport is to injure someone?
Boxing is very heavily regulated more or less for this reason. Its hard to get sued if your following guidelines set by the gov't.
  #35  
Old 11-17-2012, 09:25 AM
crucible crucible is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,331
does anyone actually have any data? How about the number of days lost to concussions in NHL before and after mandates for helmets, then, later, rules heavily enforced on elbows to the head.????
  #36  
Old 11-17-2012, 09:26 AM
crucible crucible is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,331
I mean, I was told this was a discussion board where people didn't just talk smack but backed it with numbers....
  #37  
Old 11-17-2012, 10:01 AM
Fool in the Rain Fool in the Rain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Rhode Iceland
Posts: 630
Any adult choosing to play the game comes in knowing the risks (as long as the risks are reasonably set forth) and are paid a ton to do so (at the top level).

But as others have said above, it may only be a matter of time before pewee, high school and maybe even college football will become a marginal sport or possibly a historical footnote. Lawyers and courts will eventually take it to that point.

I love football, played it as a child through adulthood, and watch it every weekend in the fall/winter the last 30+ years. It can be a brutal sport, but that is part of its draw. I do agree every precaution needs to be taken to protect the players, but with any risky profession, the participants need to be told the risks up front and willingly accept the risks to continue participation.

It would not be surprising if eventually we'll be watching the N(F)FL (National (Flag) Football League) on TV where contact is not allowed.
  #38  
Old 11-17-2012, 11:21 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 16,609
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kearsen View Post
You could make a case that in this particular sport, technology has hurt.
Back when people were wearing leather helmets, they didn't lead with their head.
You don't hear about class action lawsuits in Rugby...
Well, that is because they eat their injured and dead ...

[based on a long standing joke bumper sticker player stating that "Rugby Players Eat their Dead"]
  #39  
Old 11-17-2012, 11:53 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 39,321
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
Boxing is very heavily regulated more or less for this reason. Its hard to get sued if your following guidelines set by the gov't.
That is correct. In addition, football, at least professional football, should be regulated by state athletic commissions as well. However, considering the way torts are handled in this country I doubt it's going to stop massive payouts.
  #40  
Old 11-17-2012, 05:38 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,499
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fool in the Rain View Post
Any adult choosing to play the game comes in knowing the risks (as long as the risks are reasonably set forth) and are paid a ton to do so (at the top level).
You could make the same argument for not having any regulations to prevent coal mining disasters.
  #41  
Old 11-17-2012, 05:39 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 39,321
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
You could make the same argument for not having any regulations to prevent coal mining disasters.
Coal miners are not paid anything like football players.
  #42  
Old 11-17-2012, 06:03 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 34,499
They're paid better than somebody. In fact in a lot of contexts, coal miners are among the best paid in their communities. Is there some objective income at which you can categorically state that there is no need to take reasonable steps to protect the health of the workers?

And by not taking steps to protect the health of elite athletes—in terms of things like preventing injuries or doping—what you're essentially saying is that no one can even hope to compete in those fields without accepting a major trade-off to one's long-term health.

How is this any different than Roman gladiators? Why not allow battles to the death? Why not allow football players to carry truncheons or knives and use them on the field?
  #43  
Old 11-19-2012, 12:43 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 58,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Why not allow battles to the death? Why not allow football players to carry truncheons or knives and use them on the field?
Awesomeness overload?
  #44  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:37 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 16,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fool in the Rain View Post
Any adult choosing to play the game comes in knowing the risks (as long as the risks are reasonably set forth) and are paid a ton to do so (at the top level).
But that's the point- nobody came in knowing the risks until very recently. CTE is a pretty new diagnosis, and I can tell you with perfect confidence that between 1985-1990 when I was playing middle school and high school football, I was specifically instructed to lead with my head as a defensive tackle and offensive guard. Had I known, or my parents known, or even my coaches known about the possibility of CTE, I doubt that would have been done.

That's the thing- I think concussion treatment is what will lose the NFL their suit, but what'll ultimately cost them the most money will be the CTE claims from linemen and linebackers who didn't ever actually get any concussions.

Hopefully, football will morph back into some kind of 1940's-1950's leather-helmet game, but I fear that it'll end up no-contact or a historical curiosity.
  #45  
Old 11-21-2012, 07:45 PM
lisiate lisiate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,591
I think the mounting evidence of long term damage mean rule changes are inevitable. Any sporting code that fails to respond to medical issues like this is inviting litigation in my opinion.

Just this week the Australian rugby league banned the shoulder charge (despite some disgruntlement from players) on medical grounds. Roughly two thirds of the hits from this 2012 NRL highlights reel would now be illegal.
  #46  
Old 11-22-2012, 11:35 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bridgeport, WV, US
Posts: 14,505
This is why the harsh old tort rules of contributory negligence and assumption of risk were put into place at the start.

Without them, everyone starts looking for a payday. Even before the discovery of CTE or that lung cancer causes smoking, didn't people know that slamming heads together repeatedly or that repeatedly inhaling tar filled smoke might be bad for you?
  #47  
Old 11-23-2012, 12:06 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
Without them, everyone starts looking for a payday. Even before the discovery of CTE or that lung cancer causes smoking, didn't people know that slamming heads together repeatedly or that repeatedly inhaling tar filled smoke might be bad for you?
Back when I played football in middle school and high school back in the late 80s and early 90s the only things I worried about were the possibilities of a concussion, a broken limb or the slim possibility of a catastrophic injury of some sort. We knew our activities carried some risks associated with them but our understanding of at risk was incomplete. I don't believe my school district, coaches or even the doctor who gave me my physical were aware of the possibility of CTE. Now the NFL is aware of the problem though. They may have been aware of it for a number of years.
  #48  
Old 11-25-2015, 09:52 PM
PastTense PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,117
Quote:
Frank Gifford, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and USC All-American who died of natural causes in August, suffered from a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma, his family announced Wednesday.
http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-...125-story.html
  #49  
Old 11-25-2015, 11:37 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,970
I do not see football surviving as a high school or a college sport for the same reason neither boxing nor MMA are high school and college sports (are they? I guess I don't actually know...).

Forget whether or not we can "manage concussions." As an ED physician, I'd suggest that is simply impossible.

Moms will steer kids away, and the pipeline will dry up at the same time that regulations and lawyers kill it.

So the question will become whether you can have pro football without a great feeder system, and I don't think you can.

I give it twenty years to die, at which point it will be an interesting relic.

Might help soccer, which in the US has been on life support for decades. Lot more injuries, but they tend to be fixable, unlike repetitive brain injury.
  #50  
Old 11-25-2015, 11:49 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 21,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
Even before the discovery of CTE or that lung cancer causes smoking, didn't people know that slamming heads together repeatedly or that repeatedly inhaling tar filled smoke might be bad for you?
I know this is a three-year-old post, but since PastTense reopened the thread with an update, I'll just point out that the whole point of the tobacco-company lawsuits was that the companies deliberately downplayed and concealed evidence that inhaling that smoke might be bad for you.

Yes, consumers have a responsibility to exercise reasonable caution and awareness of risks, but that doesn't mean that it's okay for marketers to deliberately try to fool them
about the nature and severity of the risks.

IANAL but it seems to me that the legal consequences of the recent discovery of CTE in football players will similarly hinge on whether the industry had significant evidence of previously undocumented risk levels that they tried to hide from the participants.

Last edited by Kimstu; 11-25-2015 at 11:50 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:15 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017