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Football players increasingly file traumatic brain injury lawsuits

As the Denver Broncos take the field this fall, many Colorado residents may wonder how the current concussion-related injuries will affect how the NFL chooses to protect its players from head injuries. With an increasing number of former football players suing the NFL over the traumatic brain injuries that they sustained throughout their careers, it is unclear what changes may be on the horizon for the NFL, professional sports and any employer whose employees are at risk of head injuries.

Though they may seem somewhat unrelated, the concussions that NFL players received on the field are very similar to the head injuries that Colorado employees sometimes receive on the job. Maybe a professional football player wouldn't take workers' compensation for an on-the-job injury like most other people in Colorado, but these benefits are often available to someone who is injured at work. Like any professional athlete, a Denver worker may also need expensive medical treatment following a traumatic brain injury.

In these concussion lawsuits filed against the NFL, the football players are alleging that the league knew about the dangers associated with head injuries and tried to downplay the risks. Though the NFL refutes these allegations, there have been more than 2,400 retired players who have filed lawsuits. There have also been a considerable number of family members, partners and representatives who have joined the lawsuits, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to 3,762. Many of the lawsuits have been consolidated to a single federal court.

While it is unclear what effect these lawsuits will have on the future of workers' compensation in Colorado, it is likely that it will have a profound impact on the future of on-the-job traumatic brain injuries.

Source: New York Post, "Concussion lawsuits are next big U.S. litigation," June 30, 2012

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