Indiana News

Could Seau Report Affect Lawsuit Against the NFL?

1/11/2013

Former NFL star Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, suffered from a degenerative brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy which is caused by repeated blows to the head.

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The news comes as thousands of former NFL players are suing the league, saying it withheld information on what concussions could do to the brain.  Dean Gary Roberts with the IU McKinney School of Law says the findings may add a little more credibility to what the players are asserting.  

However, Roberts says because most of the players were represented by a union, the players have to get past the NFL's argument that these issues need to be resolved through the collective bargaining process.  "Under the collective bargaining agreements, they entrusted to the union the responsibility for negotiating their terms and conditions of employment and protecting their safety and all the things that unions are supposed to do." 

Roberts says typically with unions, these types of issues are dealt with through arbitration and not lawsuits.  "Even if they go to arbitration, they might still ultimately win some significant damages but they're not going to recover pain and suffering.  They're not going to recover pain and suffering.  They're not going to recover punitive damages.  There are all kinds of things you don't get and can't get in arbitration that you hope to get in a lawsuit."

Roberts says players also have to prove that their injuries were the result of playing football and they occurred while playing for the NFL.

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