The “Pseudobulbar Affect” in former NFL Players

If you've never heard of PBA (Pseudobulbar Affect) then join the crowd. I didn't know anything about this condition until I took a Survey that is being conducted by GfK on behalf of Gridiron Greats.

If you have not received an email from Gridiron Greats regarding the survey, I have attached a copy - below - of the email from Mike Ditka asking you to participate. There is a link to the survey at the bottom of his email. Just click on it and it will take you to the survey site.

I encourage all former players to take the survey!

Dear Player Community,

As you know, your input is very important to us, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of our community. That is why we would appreciate if you could take this anonymous health-related survey, which should take you no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. Again, all responses are anonymous.

The first 750 survey completed before midnight on November 23 will receive a $10 gift card emailed to you within 30 days of completing this survey.

Results will be reported in aggregate, so they WILL NOT be linked to you in any way. Occasional verbatim citations will NEVER be attributed to a particular individual. There are no right or wrong answers, we are only interested in your opinions.

Thank you in advance for your participation. If you have any questions or problems regarding the survey, please call the Panel Help Line at our research company, GfK, at 888-288-0021 (please reference “Gridiron Greats Survey”).

Take survey here – https://www.surveys.com/start.aspx?SurveyName=USC141217&id=116159476 

Best,

Mike Ditka

To view the privacy policy of our third party survey management vendor (GfK), please go to: http://www.gfk.com/us/Pages/Research-Participant-Privacy-Policy.aspx

Only 220 Former NFL Players Opted Out of NFL Concussion Settlement


With less than 1% of former players opting out of the Concussion Settlement, it is apparent that most of us saw the benefits of staying in the settlement and taking advantage of all the provisions – free baseline testing, monetary awards, free pharmaceuticals and treatment and what was arguably the most importantly concern of a majority of former players - the assurance that if we develop serious cognitive impairments in the future, we – and our families - will be compensated.

The settlement class totaled 33,984, including 25,060 former NFL players and 8,924 relatives of deceased players. 

Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, the co-lead attorneys for the players who filed suits issued a statement saying "With over 99 percent participation, it is clear the retired player community resoundingly supports this settlement." They continued by saying that "Over the last several months, we have heard from countless retired players who are in dire need of these benefits, as well as those who take comfort in the long-term protections the settlement provides. If the settlement receives final approval, former NFL players will be able to take advantage of its benefits within months, unless appeals are filed that will indefinitely delay the start of these programs."

As most of you know, Judge Anita Brody will be holding a Nov. 19 “fairness” hearing in Philadelphia on whether to grant final approval of the settlement.

I’m sure she has reviewed all the objections to the Settlement and will take into consideration all of the arguments that are made on the day of the hearing. I think she has done an excellent job on behalf of everyone so far in this process, and I expect she will continue looking out for everyone’s interests at the fairness hearing and beyond.

I have taken a lot of criticism for supporting the Settlement, but please remember that I was also very active in helping former players initiate the lawsuits against the NFL that eventually made them realize they needed a global settlement. Over the past four years, I’ve provided a lot of information to former players on why we were suing the League and why some former players should file suit.

I will be the first to admit that we didn’t get all we wanted in this Settlement, but I know we fought a good fight - and believe it or not - we won!

Make no mistake about it, the NFL will be paying out over 1 BILLION dollars as a result of this Settlement. Not too many people thought we had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the NFL to agree to any type of monetary settlement or awards.

Yes, it’s true that the NFL technically gets to avoid admitting guilt in this settlement. But the money and benefits the League has been forced to fork over in this settlement speak louder than words: The fact that the NFL will be compensating former players for cognitive impairments for the next 65 years is the best form of admitting guilt that I can think of.

What’s more, the NFL’s own actuaries now admit that professional football players are at greater risk of dementia and other brain conditions – that’s a huge acknowledgement that will make future generations safer.

I see that some lawyers, like Michael Kaplen, are still suggesting appeals of the Settlement. In a USA Today article he said “The judge still has to go the heart of the issues. ... I'm hoping that we have a judge who really wants to get to the bottom line and issues her ruling based upon all of the evidence. But if she doesn't, then she'll certainly have these issues that are going to be raised on appeals."

Mr. Kaplen is suggesting that we may have a Judge that doesn’t want to hear the evidence and get to the truth – or the bottom line. I’d like to see him stand in front of Judge Anita Brody and make that statement. He could do it at the Fairness Hearing – but he won’t - and that’s because it’s easier to lob grenades from the sidelines and threaten a Federal Judge with an appeal of her decision. Sound familiar……we just heard Dave Duerson’s family attorney, Tom Demitrio, do the same thing - even though he advised Duerson's family to stay in the Settlement.

I hope there aren't any former players that are seriously considering an appeal of this settlement. It would be a huge setback for the families that are counting on the approval of this Settlement and the beginning of the process to get diagnosed, treated and compensated.

“Delay, Deny and Hope We Die” is a slogan that has often been used by former players to describe the way the NFL and the NFL Players Association have handled our concerns and needs. Let’s not be guilty of doing the same thing by joining an appeals process that will hold up the benefits of this Settlement.

New Plaintiffs Join Lawsuit Against NFL Players Association


Growing List of Former NFL Players Joining Class Arguing Civil Conspiracy Against NFLPA; The Regan Law Firm, Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, Langdon & Emison and Yonke Law LLC Continue to Accept New Cases

Former National Football League players Vaughn Booker (Chiefs/Packers/Bengals), Ron Dugans (Bengals), Sheddrick Gurley (Buccaneers), Joe Horn (Saints), Chad Johnson (Broncos/Colts/Bengals), Kendyll Pope (Colts), Corey Sawyer (Bengals/Jets), Shevin Smith (Buccaneers/Rams), Tarlos Thomas (Texans), Tamarick Vanover (Chiefs/Chargers) and Kevin Williams (Raiders/Packers/Cowboys/Chiefs) have added their names to the growing list of NFL alumni who have filed suit against the NFL Players Association.

If you would like to join this action, or receive additional information, just click on this link: http://www.nflinjurylawsuits.com/ and provide the lawfirm with your contact information.

The suits allege that the NFL Players Association failed to take necessary steps to protect players from traumatic brain injuries or even communicate the risk of TBI to its members despite medical evidence that on-field concussions lead directly to such injuries.

Players who have filed concussion lawsuits against the NFL are also able to participate in the suit against the NFLPA. Though the lawsuits contend that the NFLPA was guilty of civil conspiracy with the NFL in hiding the truth about concussions from its members, the NFL’s conduct is only an ancillary matter. This litigation focuses squarely on the conduct of the Players Association. The class action is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. (E.D.Mo: Ballard et al. v. NFLPA et al.: 4:14-cv-1267) , while the state court action against the NFLPA has been filed in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis (Cause No. 1422-CC09201).

According to the lawsuit, these former NFL players seek medical monitoring and financial compensation for alleged long-term chronic injuries, financial losses, expenses and intangible losses suffered as a result of intentional and negligent tortious misconduct by the NFLPA. The claims filed assert that the NFLPA has been aware of the evidence linking repetitive traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to long-term neurological problems for decades, but it deliberately ignored the risks to players and failed to communicate this critical information to them and to the general public.

The petition argues that over the years, these plaintiffs as well as their colleagues in the league paid thousands of dollars in dues to the NFLPA. The NFLPA, through its representatives and agents, assured players that it would protect their best interests and owed to its members a fiduciary duty.

As pointed out in the suit, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, said to Congress in 2009 that “for far too long, our former players were left adrift (and) we were complicit in the lack of leadership and accountability but that ends now.” At further hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, Smith testified “there is simply no justification for the NFL to have previously ignored or discredited” the body of research available to that point.

The suits allege, “At all times, the NFLPA has had unparalleled access to and knowledge of data relating to the relationship between head impacts on football players and cognitive decline. This access to and knowledge of data comes from the NFLPA’s awareness of the growing body of scientific literature on the subject, its own medical consultants, its own requested or commissioned studies on the subject, its participation in the Retirement Board of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan (“Retirement Board”), and its participation in the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (the “MTBI Committee”).”

The suit also argues that rather than informing the players of the results regarding nervous system disorders, the NFLPA instead deliberately concealed the results of the studies that had been commissioned for the players’ protection. The NFLPA supplied false and misleading information regarding the risk of harm and engaged in a long-running course of fraudulent and negligent conduct, according to the argument from the legal team.

About the legal team:

Together this group of attorneys is fighting for this group of NFL alumni. Lawyer Kevin E. J. Regan has been trying jury trials for more than 30 years and has won major verdicts in various state and federal jurisdictions. He has represented many professional athletes in all professional sports in high-profile matters throughout the country. He has a proven track record of successful litigation in support of his clients in the NFL having represented NFL players for more than 25 years. He is also co-founder, along with Derrick Thomas, of the award winning Derrick Thomas/Neil Smith Third and Long Foundation, which ministers to the reading needs of inner city children.

With more than 20 years of experience, Yonke Law has represented victims and their families who have been catastrophically injured or killed due to the negligence of corporations throughout the United States. The firm has litigated cases from Florida to California and many states in between. Shaffer Lombardo Shurin has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for its clients in cases against major defendants in the financial services industry including investment banks, international accounting firms, and life and annuity companies. And from its offices in Kansas City, Lexington (Mo.), Saint Louis, and Chicago, Langdon & Emison has earned a national reputation across a full array of personal injury litigation, wrongful death and class action matters. Bob Langdon and Kent Emison have each been inducted as Fellows in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Together, this consortium of lawyers represents coast-to-coast experience in some of the most sophisticated matters in plaintiff’s litigation.

About the lawsuit: Former NFL players Neil Smith, Anthony Davis, Ladell Betts, Christian Ballard and Gregory Westbrooks were among the earliest plaintiffs in this case. Together the four firms of The Regan Law Firm, Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, Langdon & Emison and Yonke Law LLC continue to accept additional plaintiffs in related personal injury lawsuits related to professional football injuries. To learn more about this body of litigation, you can visit the group’s website at http://www.nflinjurylawsuits.com/ 

Why former players are suing the NFL Players Association

Now that the NFL Concussion Settlement is close to being finalized, there is another concussion lawsuit that is working its way through the court system that targets the NFL Players Association.

Every player that filed a lawsuit against the NFL needs to get on board with this lawsuit. You can see how to do that at the end of this article.

In the lawsuit filed by four (4) top notch law firms based in Kansas City, Missouri, on behalf of a group of former NFL players, it states:

“As a direct result of the fraudulent concealment and misrepresentations by the NFLPA (Defendants), former players, including Plaintiffs, have for many decades been led to believe that the symptoms of early-onset dementia, ALS, CTE, loss of memory, headaches, confusion, and the inability to function were not caused by events that had occurred while they played in the NFL. And, as a result of this willful and malicious conduct, these former players, including Plaintiffs, were deprived of the ability to make an informed decision regarding continuing to play football or seek competent independent medical treatment and advice. In addition, these former players, including Plaintiffs, delayed seeking medical treatment, incurred expenses, lost employment, suffered humiliation, and sustained other damages to be specified.”

The justification for filing this lawsuit comes right from the mouths of the people that have run the NFLPA for the past 20 years.

At a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in 2009, DeMaurice Smith testified that “There is simply no justification for the NFL to have previously ignored or discredited Dr. Omalu and others with relevant, valid research. For far too long, our former players were left adrift, as I emphasized at the last hearing, we were complicit in the lack of leadership and accountability but that ends now.

You can’t say it any better than that!

Here are some of the other reasons we are suing the NFLPA – again, using their own words to condemn their actions:

• In 2007, Gene Upshaw, then-Executive Director of the NFLPA, stated “I think we’re just a reflection of society.” He further stated “I don’t want to take that next leap to say, you know, football caused dementia. I just don’t believe that.”

• With respect to the idea that a football player who sustains a concussion should not return to the same game in which the injury occurred and should be held out for at least one more game, Upshaw stated “The last thing that we want to do and the N.F.L. wants to do, and it’s the last thing I want to do as a union, is to mandate something that’s not medically proven. That’s why we have doctors.”

• After Andre Waters, a former safety for the Philadelphia Eagles, committed suicide, a neuropathologist said Waters’ depression might have been related to the concussions he sustained as a professional football player. In January 2007, Gene Upshaw, then-Executive Director of the NFLPA, sounded annoyed by Chris Nowinski’s assessment, according to one reporter, stating “I think everyone is getting a little riled up because this guy’s out there trying to sell this damn book,” an apparent reference to Nowinski’s book - Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis.

• In October 1999, Gene Upshaw, then-Executive Director of the NFLPA, stated “I don’t think you can legislate this. We in the NFL are very aware of this problem. Look at the position – normally, (the injured player) is the highest-paid player. We think we take every precaution.”

• Dr. Thomas Mayer, the NFLPA’s medical adviser, stated in January 2007 that “They’re protected as well as they can be. But this is a warrior mentality, this is a warrior sport.”

• In June 2007, NFLPA President Troy Vincent stated “I’m not sure if we – athletes – know what a concussion is.” In keeping with the theme of a warrior mentality where warriors should not question whether a concussion impacts their future health, Vincent stated “Who wants to come out of the game? No player wants to sit on the sidelines.”

• In December 2010, Dr. Mayer stated that the medical arm of the NFLPA had “a very close relationship when it comes to making sure we are protecting the players to the maximum degree possible with the NFL’s medical arm.”

• In November 2010, after the NFL fined players for what it determined were illegal hits to the head, Kevin Mawae, President of the NFLPA stated he would not support the NFL on the fines; “For the commissioner and for the NFL to say they are going to increase fines because hits seem to be vicious or violent -I think it’s ridiculous and I think the skirt needs to be taken off in the NFL offices.”

• In December 2008, in keeping with its alleged scheme of fraud and deceit, the NFLPA issued a letter on its letterhead to retirees stating that it was “supporting and endorsing” an NFL study of retired players and trying to determine if there are possible long-term effects on the brain from playing in the N.F.L.”

• The implication of the NFLPA’s December 2008 letter - that the question of long-term effects of concussive and sub-concussive hits on cognitive decline remained open despite decades of science to the contrary - mirrored the NFL’s pronouncement from a year and a half earlier in its concussion pamphlet, which stated “Current research with professional athletes has not shown that having more than one or two concussions leads to permanent problems if each injury is managed properly. It is important to understand that there is no magic number for how many concussions is too many. Research is currently underway to determine if there are any long-term effects of concussion[s] in NFL athletes.”

• Upshaw stated in January 2007 that “We all get alarmed when we see something like this,” in a reference to an article about Andre Waters. “But it’s not like we’ve been just sitting on our hands. That’s what’s being implied here, that no one is looking at this, that no one’s studying this, that no one cares about this. If that was true, I’m irresponsible and I haven’t been doing my job, and neither has the N.F.L.

It was true……….and they were irresponsible………and they weren't doing their jobs…… and now we can finally hold them accountable.

This lawsuit is the first and only lawsuit of its kind filed against the NFLPA and is being handled by lawyers with a great track record of success against major corporations. Several of the lawyers involved in this litigation have represented National Football League players on a personal basis for over 25 years.

Former NFL players that have filed concussion related lawsuits against the National Football League are welcome to join in this lawsuit against the NFLPA. I do not believe that there is any downside for players currently involved with the NFL concussion litigation to join the lawsuit against the NFLPA. Players involved in the NFL litigation may be able to recoup additional compensation against the NFLPA if this litigation is successful.

The lawyers for the NFL alums believe that the NFLPA had knowledge of the many dangers of concussions suffered by players in the National Football League during their careers and that this knowledge was concealed from the players and misrepresentations were made by the NFLPA to the players to keep them in the dark about the risks they took with repeated head trauma and returning to practice or game situations before it was medically prudent to do so.

Please, don’t sit back and expect this to happen without your participation. It is important that you act quickly in deciding whether to file a lawsuit. The law allows only a set amount of time to bring a cause of action for injury. To avoid attempts by the NFLPA to exclude plaintiffs, any players with symptoms should file as soon as possible.

If you are interested in joining me and other former players, just go to the website of the attorneys that filed this lawsuit on our behalf and begin the process of retaining their services. Here is the link: http://www.NFLInjuryLawsuits.com

There is strength in numbers and I believe that, if a large volume of players assert these claims against the NFLPA, this case will be treated very seriously by the NFLPA and their counsel.

Let’s fight back……

Let’s get some justice……

Let’s git er done!


Duerson Family Lawyer Threatens to Appeal Concussion Settlement

Tom Demetrio, the lawyer for Dave Duerson’s estate has threatened to appeal the NFL Concussion Settlement if he doesn’t get his way at the November 19th Fairness Hearing in front of Judge Anita Brody.

As you know, former players had the right to opt out of the agreement and continue their litigation against the NFL if they filed a notice of intent by October 14, 2014. It is important to note that Dave Duerson’s family did not opt out of the Settlement, which means they will still be eligible to receive $2.3 million dollars under the Settlement. Tom Demetrio could stand to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars of that award as his fee.

But that’s not enough for Demetrio. He has objected to the settlement and insisted that Judge Brody NFL lawyers and our lawyers go back to the drawing board. And even if Judge Brody rejects his objection, Demetrio has already announced his intention to appeal to the Third Circuit – and hold up approval of the settlement for many more months, if not longer.

In a recent interview he said “I chose to object because if Judge Brody fails to say no settlement ... then we have thankfully the appellate process. We're objecting strongly, and if Brody approves this — which I would not be surprised if she does — but if she does, we're going to keep going to the Third Circuit (appeals court)."

Read that quote again. Tom Demetrio has just threatened every single retired player, along with a federal Judge! He has threatened that he will endanger this settlement for all of us if he does not get his way.

If you ask me, it’s a bad idea to display such disrespect for the very same Judge who has repeatedly stood up for our rights—and improved the settlement in the process. But then again, it isn’t Demetrio who will suffer if the settlement is held up for years under appeal.

Of course, we all know who stands to lose big if the settlement is delayed: the many retired players who are suffering today and have waited long enough for the benefits promised by this settlement. Not to mention the thousands more that actuaries predict will get sick in the future, or the rest of us (including me) who are eager to take advantage of the settlement’s free baseline assessments.

And here’s the best part: Demetrio admits that those who have opted out and continue litigating face the risk that their case will be “sent to an arbitrator pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement.”  Duh........ That’s one of the main reasons our lawyers negotiated a Settlement in the first place – the Judge might have thrown our case out!  She said that herself when she gave the Settlement preliminary approval and said that in addition to the CBA Preemption issue “Plaintiffs also would face hurdles in proving their case-in-chief. If the litigation were to continue, Plaintiffs would be required to demonstrate that retired players’ injuries were caused by NFL football play, as opposed to unrelated causes, the natural aging process, or concussions or sub-concussive hits experienced in youth or college football. Therefore, the significant legal challenges facing Plaintiffs support preliminary approval of the proposed Settlement.”

So, to recap: Tom Demetrio acknowledges the very same legal challenges that make this settlement such an important (if imperfect) victory. He thinks that Judge Brody will likely rule against his objections. Finally, he is fully aware that many retired players are suffering and need the money provided by this deal now. But then he arrogantly says he will appeal the thing anyway!

Here’s the bottom line for me: If the NFL Concussion Settlement is approved and an appeal is filed, uncertainty will reign: there is no telling how long it will take for the Courts to deal with the appeal. But there is one thing that is absolutely certain. The compensation that would have gone to the former players that are in most need – those with moderate or severe dementia, ALS, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease - will be delayed.

An overwhelming number of former players want this Settlement to go through and I think there’s a good reason for that. Actuaries for both the NFL and former players showed that approximately 6,000 of us will eventually develop cognitive impairments that will be compensated under this settlement. Additionally, most former players want to make sure that money gets into the hands of the guys that need it the most – as soon as possible.

You can read some of the comments by former players at this link: http://www.playerinjury.com/discussion/

It’s time for lawyers to stop threatening to take our football away if they don’t get their way - and any former player that hears the “A” word (appeal) needs to run as far and fast as they can from the lawyer that uses it.