The Law Behind the Movie “Concussion” on The American Law Journal on the Philadelphia CNN-News Affiliate WFMZ-TV, Video Online Now

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Lawyers for Living Players Displaying Symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), as Described in the Film, Appeal NFL Settlement, Interview with NFL Player Suffering Symptoms of CTE


Christopher Naughton, host of The American Law Journal and professional athlete's lawyer Steve Olenick of the New York law firm Kantor Davidoff

"The League has not been helpful to me and others players" says Levitt in the program. "Lawyers can't wait to get their hands on the fee, $112 million."

On the television program "Is the NFL Concussion Settlement Good for Players? Or Better for Owners and Lawyers?" The American Law Journal panel of attorneys and sports experts discussed how opposing plaintiffs’ groups and the NFL differ greatly on covered health issues, who is eligible, and amount of monetary relief. A key sticking point is the lack of coverage for players with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which can be detected only after death according to Boston Neurosurgeon Robert Stern. Attorneys representing dozens of former NFL players who have opted out of the settlement argued that the league’s proposal left certain players suffering brain trauma without compensation. (1)

The program is now available to view online after airing on the Philadelphia CNN-News affiliate.

In the film “Concussion,” (2) Will Smith portrays Nigerian doctor Bennet Omalu, M.D. who first discovered CTE after examining the brain of deceased former Pittsburgh Steeler star Mike Webster, as portrayed by David Morse. CTE is a degenerative neural disease associated with repeated blows to the head. Former NFL stars Junior Seau and David Duerson both committed suicide by shooting themselves in the chest, preserving their brains for future study. In both cases, autopsies showed that Seau and Duerson suffered from advanced cases of CTE. (3)

Host Christopher Naughton welcomed guests Saranac Hale Spencer, staff writer for The Legal Intelligencer; plaintiff’s attorney and professional athlete’s representative Steve Olenick of New York’s Kantor Davidoff; and Patrick Hruby, former Georgetown University professor and Contributing Editor of Vice Sports.

Gina Passarella, senior staff writer for The Legal Intelligencer, interviewed former NFL player Chad Levitt in an opening feature report. Levitt suffers symptoms of CTE. "The League has not been helpful to me and others players" says Levitt in the program. "Lawyers can't wait to get their hands on the fee, $112 million."

The American Law Journal, a weekly talk-feature program, is now in its 25th season of broadcasting on the CNN-News affiliate for Philadelphia, WFMZ-TV 69 to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Airing Monday nights at 7:00 pm from October to Memorial Day the program is also available on For over the air channels (HD, satellite) see

The program discusses consumer, business and Constitutional issues with attorneys, law professors, judges, elected officials and others to shed light on current legal news and how the system impacts the everyday lives of citizens. Programs are live or taped in studio and on location in and around Philadelphia.

The American Law Journal won an Emmy for the program "Sexual Orientation, LGBT & the Workplace: ENDA of Discrimination?" in the Interview/Discussion category of the 2015 Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Mid Atlantic chapter. The program was also nominated in three other categories.

1 In Re: National Football League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, #15-2206 et al (Third Circuit Court of Appeals, November 19, 2015)
2. "Concussion" IMDB
3. "Junior Seau had brain disease when he committed suicide" The Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2013

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