Tag Archives: Sports Legacy Institute Chicago Concussion Coalition

Congress on Concussions: A review of recent press and activity on contact sports and brain injuries

Thursday in testimony on Capitol Hill. “That's one of the reasons we love it.”"

“UNL physics professor Timothy Gay explains the physics of football in this file photo. “American football is an inherently violent sport,” he said Thursday in testimony on Capitol Hill. “That’s one of the reasons we love it.”” Article Link 

According to research calculations conducted by a physics professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “professional football players have become so much bigger and faster than the amount of force at work along the line of scrimmage is now twice what it was when the NFL started.[i]” Professor Timothy Gay testified at a congressional hearing in Congress about the current research findings about concussions and in explaining the force of some hits in football. “A helmet-to-helmet collision at top speed is roughly the same as having a 16-pound bowling ball dropped on a player’s helmet from 8 feet up.[ii]” Is football dangerous? Yes, as professor, Gay says, “American football is an inherently violent sport,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we love it.[iii]

Congress appears to be urging the NFL to continue making changes to its policies with respect to concussions.

VIDEO LINK: ‘This Week’: Congress on Concussions. ABC News’ Jim Avila and ESPN’s Jeremy Schapp on the recent congressional hearing on sports concussions.[iv]

Sports and safety go together more frequently than peanut butter and jelly lately. The increase in research, published findings, and incidents of long-term injuries and damages from concussions are popular topics on the field, in the courtroom and on Capitol Hill. The video linked above mentions some notable facts about sports and traumatic brain injury:

  • 250,000 kids get head injuries
  • 6 million kids play tackle or flag football
  • Players absorb 650 hits to the head every season.
  • Forces each players hitting at full speeds exceeds ¾ a ton.
  • Soccer players are the second most at risk of injury

Contrary to what many critics think, the intention behind many of the concussion lawsuits, research, publications and discussion is not about taking contact sports away, rather the goal is to teach players how to tackle safely and learn to avoid the most dangerous hits.

A change in the culture of contact sports like football is also a factor. Historically there has been what some call a “misplaced macho attitude” encouraging injured players to continue practicing and playing despite their concussion injuries. In the early days of brain injury research, less was known about the long-term effects of concussions. Today, doctors and organizations concerned with sports safety conduct extensive symposiums to share information and promote awareness.

What can or should Congress do? The video linked above suggests Congress should continue to nudge the NFL to make sure research is funded and advances are made in concussion education and prevention. The NFL can send a message that football can be played safely.

Michael V. Favia & Associates represent clients with sports injuries. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] Omaha World-Herald: UNL professors take the lead at concussion hearings in Congress. By Joseph Morton, Mar. 14, 2014.

[ii] Omaha World-Herald quote from article cited above.

[iii] Omaha World-Herald quote from article cited above.

Why the $765M agreed settlement of the consolidated NFL concussion cases remains on hold

Chicago attorney, Thomas Demetrio confers, that more evidence must be seen to justify that the settlement will satisfy the needs of the injured players over the next many years.

Chicago attorney, Thomas Demetrio, agrees that more evidence must be seen to justify that the settlement will satisfy the needs of the injured players over the next many years.

U.S. District Judge, Anita B. Brody, wants more calculations to ensure just awards of damages for ex-NFL players in the settlement of the well-publicized consolidated concussion cases. Denying a motion to approve the $765M settlement on Tuesday, Brody, “noted that the class of approximately 20,000[i] could overwhelm the [settlement] fund, even if only 10 percent of its members [with cognitive injuries] file claims against the $675 million set aside to pay claims, working out to $337,500 per player,” as reported by Fox News.[ii] To receive part of the special injury compensation fund the former players must present medical evidence of their cognitive injury.

Judges in cases like this must ensure that a settlement amount is adequate and fair?

Settlement amounts are commonly disputed in litigation involving multiple defendants and the variety of damages they sustain. In this case the retired players have a variety of short and long-term physical and cognitive injuries. Some are deceased former players whose families will receive part of the settlement as authorized representatives. The settlement proceeds will be used to cover medical benefits for injured players, to fund medical and safety research, and for the expenses of litigation, including attorneys’ fees.

Judge Brody said in the court opinion, “in the absence of additional supporting evidence, I have concerns about the fairness and adequacy of the settlement.” The lawsuit in this case includes more than 4,500 retired NFL players who sued the league for traumatic brain and head injuries sustained during their employment[iii]. The exact amount of injured players qualified to take from the special $675M fund is unknown, so it is difficult to know if that fund will be adequate and fair.

Medical experts, economists and actuaries are expected to provide additional reasonable and necessary information the judge may review to evaluate if the agreed settlement will be enough to compensate the injured and families of deceased former players.

Many people think the NFL is getting off lightly given that the settlement funds are to be paid over a period of 20 years.

WATCH: Judge fears $765 million not enough 

The link above is to an ESPN video discussing reactions to Judge Brody’s decision. Tia McNeill, former wife of retired NFL player, Fred McNeill[iv], states that she is happy with the ruling because it allows another look at the qualifying factors for eligibility to receive the settlement. Chicago attorney, Thomas Demetrio, agrees that more evidence must be seen to justify that the settlement will satisfy the needs of the injured players over the next many years.

The Law Offices of Michael V. Favia represents injured people, including athletes. Michael V. Favia is an advisory board member and is active with the Sports Legacy Institute and its work in increasing awareness of and education to increase safety and prevent traumatic brain injuries among athletes.  With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] Terms of the settlement include an award of damages to any retired NFL player as of the date the settlement is accepted. See CBS Sports: NFL, former players reach settlement in concussion lawsuit. By Ryan Wilson, Aug. 29,2013.

[ii] Fox News: Ex-NFL players eye $765M settlement, even if they haven’t signed on. By Joshua Rhett Miller, Jan. 16, 2014.

[iii] CBS Sports: Judge rejects initial $765M NFL concussion lawsuit settlement. By Will Brinson, Jan. 14, 2014.

Michael V. Favia speaks at concussion symposium

Michael V. Favia speaks at concussion symposium hosted by DePaul SLICE

Michael V. Favia speaks at concussion symposium hosted by DePaul SLICE on May 9, 2013

Michael V. Favia, J.D., frequently speaks on panel symposiums on the areas of practice offered by The Law Firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates. Personal injury and specifically traumatic brain injuries are focused areas of practice at the firm. This May, the DePaul Sports Legacy Institute, Chicago Concussion Coalition, hosted a concussion symposium and invited attorney Favia to volunteer his time and speak, among a panel of experts, presenting to an audience of nearly 50 professionals who are concerned with injuries to the brain.

Traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) is a compelling field of research and the studies published in the medical and legal communities are frequently updated as more is discovered about the brain and how it responds to injury. Many legal cases in the news highlight the trauma an injury victim experiences. For example, the National Football League and many retired NFL players are involved in ongoing litigation regarding helmet safety, physician roles and player safety through education.

Concussions can be particularly difficult to diagnose and treat, particularly due to a wide range of symptoms experienced and reported by brain injury victims. With increased awareness among professionals and citizens there is an increase in policy making and education so we can all protect our friends and family when an injury occurs. Sporting programs, not only professional, but also local, in schools and communities benefit from the collective research and presentations of the issues in symposiums here in Chicago and nationwide.

The panel of presenters at the May 9, SLICE concussion symposium also included: Dorothy Kozlowski, Ph.D.; Leonard V. Messner, OD, FAAO; Jeffrey Mjaanes, M.D., FAAP, FACSM; Sue Walsh, D.N., Med, ATC, EMT; Amanda Lorenzen, as well as the NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter representatives Marc May and Bryce Fisher.

If you are interested in learning more about concussions and what you should do if you or a friend or family member is injured and are concerned, you should contact The Law Firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates to learn what steps you should take to protect the safety and future medical issues facing those who suffer from traumatic brain injury. The firm can also offer additional educational resources to better help the concerned.

Please feel free to keep the dialogue moving and leave your comments below. You can also keep in touch when you “Like” and “Follow” Michael V. Favia & Associates on Facebook and Twitter.