A few weeks ago we posted an article called Concussions and CTE: What is the Future of Football? Over the past few weeks there have been a few changes and developments.
Starting with high school sports concussion laws when first reported seven states did not have laws in place. Since then 47 states have a sports concussion law enacted and two other states (S.C. and WV) are in the process of passing laws.
The one state that has not made passing a concussion in sports law a priority is Mississippi. Last year a bill called the Wesley Ward Youth Concussion Act passed in the Senate by unanimous vote but died in the House. This year several powerful groups in the state are joining forces to get a sports concussion law passed.
Mississippi High School Activities Association has a youth concussion policy but only has required procedures in the event of a concussion; it does not do much in the way of educating parents, coaches and players on concussions. Nor does the policy require parents to sign a concussion information form before their child can play any sport.
The NFL has been a strong advocate for youth concussion legislation with their NFL Evolution program. The NFL has also partnered with GE and Under Armour in a four-year $60 million program to reduce the threat of head injuries.
With all that the NFL is doing to reduce the risk of head injuries the NFL concussion lawsuits still looms, which finally began arguments on April 9th. In those arguments the players accused the NFL of glorifying violence with their video productions and profiting from it. The players also accused the NFL of withholding information about concussions that could have helped them reduce the threat of brain injuries.
The NFL denies they withheld any information on concussions from the players, they also argue the former players lawsuit is covered in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and should not be decided in the courtroom. The NFL’s argument creates a little of a uphill battle for them because the former players are not actually under the CBA so do they still count under it?
Judge Anita Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will be rendering a decision on whether the lawsuits will go forward or be denied. If Judge Brody rules in favor of the former players then the cases will be heard in the state they were filed in. If the judge does not deny the case of the former players altogether she may order the cases go to arbitration, which would lean in the NFL’s favor. The ruling this complicated case could take several months to be decided.
How will Judge Brody rule the case?
Will Mississippi finally pass a youth concussion law?
Will they find a cure for CTE?
Will all the new concussion rules and laws reduce the number of concussions on all levels of sports?
These are just a few questions that will eventually be answered as time goes on. Overall the concussion issue in all levels of sports is still an ongoing process to reduce the threat or eliminate altogether. But so much remains to be seen with the outcome of the NFL concussion lawsuits, the concussion laws and concussion prevention.