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Nov.-Dec. 2011, Vol. XXVI, No. 6
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NFL hit with concussion suit

Just 51 years old but often “dazed,” Jim McMahon says the National Football League knew for decades “head tackling” might cause concussions and other neurological damage but hid the evidence. Six more former players joined his class action lawsuit.

Filed Aug. 17, 2011 in Philadelphia, the seven athletes contend in the suit the NFL taught players to tackle with their heads, didn’t treat their concussions properly and concealed the NFL’s alleged knowledge of ties between football and brain injuries.

A two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback (once with the Chicago Bears), McMahon told Reuters it was routine to return to games after violent head collisions in his playing days. Now, players with concussions require an independent doctor’s OK.

helmetThe suit seeks medical monitoring and enough money to pay for treatment of injured players. The NFL says it will “vigorously contest” the suit’s assertions. Meanwhile, Cleveland Clinic researchers have won a National Institutes of Health grant to determine if measuring the blood level of S100B – a biomarker released into the blood following brain injury – can be used to diagnose and determine the severity of a concussion.

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