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Dan Marino Sues NFL Over Concussions

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NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino is the latest former NFL player to sue the league over what many retired players are contending has been the leagues cavailier attitude toward concussions and their long term impact:

Dan Marino, the Hall of Fame member and former Miami Dolphins quarterback, last week sued the NFL over concussions, according to federal court records.

As the behind-the-scenes effort to gain approval for the proposed $765-million settlement of the concussion litigation continues, Marino and 14 other former players sued in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

At least 41 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, or their estates, are among about 5,000 former players suing.

The 18-page complaint alleges the NFL concealed information about football-related brain injuries and misled players, claims that are similar to those made in more than 300 related lawsuits. The NFL has repeatedly denied such claims.

No specific symptoms are alleged for Marino, selected to nine Pro Bowl games when he played from 1983 to 1999. Boilerplate language is used in Marino’s short-form complaint. One is submitted for each plaintiff.

“On information and belief, the Plaintiff … sustained repetitive, traumatic sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts during NFL games and/or practices,” the short-form complaint said.

Marino’s lawsuit comes only a few months after a Federal Judge rejected a $765 million settlement between the NFL and a class action representing as many as 20,000 former players who raised similar claims because she did not believe that the proposed settlement would be sufficient to deal with the long-term medical conditions that these players would face as a result of repeated head trauma. It also comes at a time when the entire sport of football, from the NFL down to youth leagues is facing the harsh reality of the effect that concussions have on players. At the professional level, we’ve seen that impact in stark terms with player suicides as well as post-mortum medical tests that clearly show changes to the brain as a result of repeated concussions. Below that, there have plenty of reports of tragic results of young players dying after concussions, and parents beginning to question whether they would let their young children play football at a young age. What this means for the future of the game is unclear, but at the very least it would seem to mean that someone will be paying more money for medical treatment in the future.

Update: Late Tuesday afternoon, Marino announced he was withdrawing from the lawsuit.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    As a news/sports photographer in Miami (a previous career) I spent a good deal of time around the Dolphins…and it was always crystal clear to me that Dan Marino was one of the major douche bags on the planet.
    Here is a guy that never won a major championship at any level. He had an arm…that was it…he was not a team player in any sense of the word.
    Now…after a bunch of other guys had the balls to stand up to the league and the game that they love…Marino sees a payday and is jumping on the bandwagon.
    It’s a two-bit move…which is right in character.

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  2. grumpy realist says:

    They’re gonna hafta hope a lot of tort law about assumed risk goes away, or dig up a hell of a lot more evidence of deliberate concealment of actual known facts. (Not just “gee, this might be a problem in the future” but “we have actual proof and we’re going to conceal it.”

    When the boxing industry pays out in a similar suit, then the football people might have something to build on. Otherwise, I suspect this will be quickly dismissed (or negotiated away in a settlement.)

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