Former Rams standout running back Eric Dickerson is the latest (and so far, the greatest) to file a lawsuit against the National Football League, seeking compensation for concussions and other head-related trauma sustained during his Hall of Fame career.
Dickerson, who is seventh all-time in the NFL with 13,259 rushing yards amassed during a 12-year career, is part of a group of 15 retired players who filed a class-action lawsuit on Monday. That group includes longtime Minnesota Viking John Randle, two-time Pro Bowler Hoyle Granger and the estates of David Lunceford and Hall of Famer Ernie Stautner.
As reported by the Beaumont Enterprise and other media organizations, the league is facing other lawsuits related to concussions sustained on the gridiron; the NFL is facing legal action from 2,200 former players. One of them is ex-Green Bay Packers running back Dorsey Levens, who is producing a documentary titled Bell Rung, detailing how former NFL players cope with life and deal with the after-effects of years spent playing pro football.
While the research is inconclusive and the debate continues over the damage caused by repeated blows to the head, four deceased prominent players from the National Hockey League — Reggie Fleming, Bob Probert, Rick Martin and Derek Boogaard — have had their brains donated for further testing and study. One of the goals is to find what connections there might be to cranial trauma and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
While it remains unproven and the evidence is scant, some high-profile suicides of players — longtime San Diego Charger linebacker Junior Seau among them — have been attributed in part to the amount and severity of trauma to which those athletes were exposed. The research mentioned earlier in this article will attempt to clarify many of the unknowns surrounding the issue.
One of the more notable aspects of many of the actions is that most of them involve athletes who do not have Dickerson’s status; they are mostly marginal players who spent between three and six years in the league and are not well-known. Now thsat Dickerson has become part of the issue, other prominent former players might also file.
Former NFL and CFL standout quarterback Warren Moon is not suing the league; instead, he is promoting a new high-tech helmet which could reduce such head trauma. Among the current players considering using the helmet is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
While it’s a good thing that players like Luck now have potentially better choices to make for protective headgear, it is too late for many others. This is one headache which is not going away anytime soon, and in fact has just become more prominent.