Brain Injury Association of America Files Affidavit in NFL Concussion Suit

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BIAA seeks amicus curiae status to address significant flaws in diagnosis and treatment.

The outcome of this settlement will have a significant impact on all future brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education.

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) filed a second motion today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The organization is asking the court to grant the organization amicus curiae (friend of the court) status on the proposed settlement between the National Football League (NFL) and former players (case 2:12-md-02323-AB).

In addition to the motion, BIAA filed an affidavit outlining the organization’s serious concerns about the flaws and limitations of the settlement as it is currently written. Brent Masel, M.D., National Medical Director of BIAA, and Greg O’Shanick, National Medical Director Emeritus, drafted the affidavit in support of giving BIAA amicus status. Following are some of the areas of concern noted in the affidavit.

  •     The settlement excludes numerous physical and behavioral consequences of brain injury from the list of qualifying diagnoses for treatment and compensation. A concussion results in a wide range of neurological, physical, cognitive, and neuropsychological impairments that can appear immediately or many years after injury, requiring specialized treatment on an ongoing or intermittent basis.
  •     The approach to diagnosing impairment is “deeply flawed” and will exclude many former players from receiving compensation. The determination of eligibility is heavily weighted towards those with severe memory dysfunction and/or evidence of neuromuscular abnormality. If a player has impairment in language or visual function, but not in executive function, learning or memory, he will not qualify.
  •     The downward adjustment of compensation based on the number of seasons played, the age of the player at the time of diagnosis, and incidence of stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) prior to being admitted to the class, demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of concussion and mild TBI. A single concussion, whether diagnosed or not, can result in debilitating physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments that interfere with the activities of daily living and require a lifetime of treatment. Therefore, the nature and extent of the impairment – not the number of seasons played – should be the determining factor in any monetary award.
  •     The limitation of pharmacy vendors to mail order pharmacies. Some medications require distribution that controls for temperature, light, vibration, and other conditions and cannot be reliably distributed by mail order. In addition, use of mail order prevents a physician from making quick and immediate medication changes.
  •     The BAP Supplemental Benefits program fails to recognize the full extent of the treatment team that may be required. The standard of care for patients with TBI dictates that rehabilitation and other medical treatment plans are developed and carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of licensed, credentialed clinicians working in specialized settings and accredited programs. These include endocrinology, physical medicine, ophthalmology, neuro-optometry, otolaryngology, psychiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, and neurobehavioral therapy, among others.

"The outcome of this settlement will have a significant impact on all future brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education,” said Susan Connors, president and CEO of BIAA. “In addition to the players, the decisions made in this case will affect the 2.5 million children and adults whose brains are injured in the U.S. each year. It is on their behalf that we have renewed our motion for amicus status."

To download copies of the motion and affidavit, visit:

BIAA was founded in 1980 and is the nation’s oldest and largest brain injury advocacy organization. Its mission is to advance the causes of brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education, and to improve the quality of life for all individuals affected by brain injury.

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Rob Traister
Brain Injury Association of America
+1 (703) 761-0750 Ext: 628
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