All posts by Jason Luckasevic

Since when did the NFL have their Players Back?

In 1920, The National Football League (NFL) was created, and ever since it has been America’s most loved sport. NFL Games have the highest average attendance rate than any other sport in the world. The game is loved, the game is played, and the NFL profits from every aspect of the sport in excess of 13 Billion a year and predicted to be 25 Billion by 2025.

Since the creation of the NFL, every athlete has provided the NFL with the talent they needed. Athletes have shed their blood, sweat, and tears for the love of the game and their fans entertainment. The athletes are the reason the NFL exists, and every player displays their dedication every time they step on the field. Which begs the question, how does the NFL show their dedication to the athletes? Most say, money. As in any other employment agreement, services and skills provided to the employer are exchanged for money. If the job in question is dangerous, it is the employers duty to provide a warning so that the employees know the risk they are taking by accepting the position. The NFL does pay their athletes (employees) for their services and skills, but they were never warned about the injuries that could result later in life.

In some ways, this is situation is similar to the Tobacco Case, or the many Asbestos Cases. People did their job, and their employer later found out that the employees could be harmed from the work, thus had to compensate their employees for the damage done to their bodies. Sounds simple, you get harmed at work and your work pays for the injury. It sounds simple, but the NFL could not grasp this concept, and unlike the cases mentioned above the NFL knew of the injuries that their employees were going to suffer in the future.

My good friend, Dr. Bennett Omalu, discovered what the National Football League had already known-Football can cause severe damage to the brain which can affect the player later on in life. Right away the NFL came into defense mode by denying the medical evidence and attempting to discredit Dr. Omalu’s work . This is where I came in. I could not stand to see anyone attacking a man whom I considered a very close friend, so I began to research. After years of research, I had caught them keeping a secret, and I had caught them in a web of lies. Eventually my research turned into a lawsuit against the NFL. The first of its kind on behalf of over a 100 former players. When the truth became public, when they could no longer sustain the charade, they NFL finally admitted the connection between football and brain damage… or maybe they didn’t.

Truth be told, these facts are black and white, the NFL has never had their athlete’s best interests in mind, especially the retired player.

Now that everyone knows the truth, the National Football League has to help their players right?

Isn’t it easy to register and become part of the lawsuit?

They have to pay the retired player who has medical support, right?

If these questions were true, my job would be over.

Instead, the NFL has promoted their willingness to work with each and every player. They have repeatedly stated that registering is simple, it only takes thirty seconds and that players don’t need a lawyer.

This is where the black and white statement comes into play yet again: the NFL has never had their athlete’s best interests in mind. If becoming qualified is so easy, why is the NFL putting so many roadblocks in the way of a player qualifying, such as a 54 page claim package and a 17 page diagnosing physician certification? Why are they making it so difficult for their player to receive the money they deserve? This is a simple concept the NFL understands. They very well know the less help a player has, the less people advocating for them, the easier it is for a player to not qualify. If a player does not understand what to do, or how to maneuver around the numerous roadblocks the NFL has placed-they won’t qualify and the NFL will be able to retain their funds.

This brings me to the very first question asked: Since when did the NFL have their Players Back? The answer is simple- Never.

Does the NFL Concussion Settlement Mean the Players Will Get the Help They Need?

The NFL Settlement is designed to compensate the individuals previously employed by the NFL, who have suffered or continue to suffer from brain injury. The funds will be distributed to those who qualify in hopes that those former players, and their families, will become whole once again, and to cover all medical expenses and economic losses from their brain injuries.

That is the hope; however, there is truly no amount of money that can compensate for all of the pain and suffering that has been endured by the players and their families. Unfortunately when glass is shattered there is rarely enough super glue to fix what once was. So now, we as a society throw money at any issue that arises, believing that money is better than super glue, because now you can buy a whole new item that is not broken. The truth is, that is not the case here, you cannot buy your memories that are forever forgotten, your family’s heartache, or the life you once had. There is no compensation that can rectify all the lives that have been ruined.

I started this litigation knowing this to be true, but I wanted to help in any way I could. I know that I cannot fix the past, but I hope that this settlement can, in some way, help relieve some of the financial stress that has been weighing on these players backs for years. It is my hope that these former players can afford to receive all the medical care they require without having to empty their own pockets or reach out to our government for assistance.

Truthfully, I brought this litigation for more than the players who have already suffered. I brought this litigation to spread awareness so that other players and families were aware of what could become their future if they did not protect against repeated brain trauma. If this litigation has helped even one person to realize the medical consequences, and has prevented any player, or any family from having to go through this devastation, then I have done my job.

Do Those that Play Sports Assume the Risk of Injury?

I remember it well; one of the first interviews a client of mine gave. He was a former All-Pro and two time Super Bowl Champion.  He was asked whether he knew that football was dangerous and that he could get hurt. His reply spoke volumes. He said, “ I knew I would leave the game with bad knees and broken bones, I knew I could even break my neck someday. But, nobody ever told me that I could lose my mind by the time I reached my forties.”

In fact, how could an athlete know that concussions and head trauma was a concern? They were told to shake it off, let their head clear for a moment, use some smelling salts and get back in the game. Athletes were never told their brains were at a greater risk for head damage.

Today, athletes now know the full risks of head trauma and concussions. However, years ago this information was not provided.

If you have played a contact sport and have health concerns, please contact me to discuss your legal rights.

Concussions or CTE

Notice that the title of this blog piece uses “or” as opposed to “and.” There is a reason for this title. You see, sports leagues want the public to believe that concussion causes CTE. However, the reality is that CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) is caused from repeated trauma, not a concussion or a couple concussions. Repeated trauma is typically defined as blows to the head. The best example is to point to boxers. Those boxers who suffer from chronic neurological damage are resulted from the thousands of punched landed to their heads, not the one or two knockouts they sustained in their careers.

Remember understanding CTE is to understand its origins coined by my friend, Dr. Bennet Omalu. Chronic means latent developing after many years from first exposure. Traumatic means caused from repeated trauma/blows to the head, not concussions. Encephalopathy is a fancy word for bad brain. Next time someone brings up the topic of concussions in football, you can now understand that the bigger concern is from repeated trauma causing later life problems.

Whether you played football, wrestling, hockey, soccer or boxing, you have an increased risk of developing CTE. Even if you last played decades ago, you should be aware of your legal rights and speak with the lawyer who originated the NFL CTE litigation.

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