A new class-action lawsuit filed against youth football league Pop Warner differs from previous cases in that it includes as defendants a branch of the National Football League as well as the group that creates safety standards for football helmets.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in California Sept. 1, contends the organizations ignored medical research that highlights the perils of playing football and failed to protect young players from the dangers of brain trauma and the long-term consequences of repeated hits to the head. The suit was brought by two mothers of former youth football players who died. They claim Pop Warner, the nation's largest youth football league, knowingly put players in danger by ignoring the risks of head trauma.
Pop Warner failed to monitor games, practices, rules, equipment and medical care “to minimize the long-term risks associated with brain injuries including repetitive sub-concussive hits,” according to the lawsuit. In addition, the league is accused of failing to accurately diagnose brain injuries as well as failing to mandate use of the best equipment available.
According to the New York Times, Pop Warner has seen a decline in participation in recent years and already is fending off lawsuits brought by the families of players who were significantly injured or died. Yet, a Pop Warner spokesman said the league has instituted safety measures to protect the 225,000 players.
In March, Pop Warner settled a brain-injury lawsuit filed by the family of a 25-year-old man who committed suicide and was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease linked to concussions caused by repeated head trauma. The victim began playing Pop Warner football when he was 11. The settlement was not disclosed, but the suit filed in Wisconsin in February 2015, had asked for $5 million in damages.
In January, Pop Warner settled another lawsuit brought by a California mother whose son was paralyzed playing football.
Thousands of former professional players sued the NFL in 2012 in a class-action lawsuit accusing the league of negligence for hiding the ties between concussions and CTE. The NFL sought to dismiss the suit, but later signed off on a settlement that gave each retired player up to $5 million “for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma.”
The cumulative effects of repeated hits to the head while playing sports could cause a post-concussion syndrome that affects an athlete's personality, including cognition, behavior and mood. A person whose behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, or who is progressively depressed, paranoid and distrusting could be exhibiting signs of brain injury.
If you think your child suffered traumatic brain injury as a result of playing sports, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.