Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
As I posted in a previous blog article, sports-related concussions became a high-profile issue when the NFL and former football players reached an agreement for an $765 million settlement. However, Federal Judge Anita Brody has not yet granted the preliminary approval, writing, “I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid.” Although economists and actuaries have indicated that the amount is sufficient, the judge is not convinced. “Unfortunately, no such analyses were provided to me in support of the plaintiffs’ motion. In the absence of additional supporting evidence, I have concerns about the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the settlement.”
As part of an effort to raise public awareness of the dangers of sports concussions,The White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit is scheduled for May 29, 2014, bringing together sports officials, medical experts, parent activists and young athletes, which will include on-site training sessions for soccer and football players on how to avoid head injuries, as well as panel discussions on the latest concussion research. According to a summary of the event from Scientific American, “The summit … is set against a backdrop of mounting concerns about the health impacts of sports-related head injuries, especially among children. A new report published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this month found that head injuries led an estimated 2.5 million people to visit a U.S. emergency room in 2010, and about one-third of the cases were children.”
This is not the first time the White House has stated concern over sports injuries. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt used his influence to push college football programs to initiate radical rule changes so that the sport would be less violent. Roosevelt was known to be a big fan of football and the strenuous life, but even he acknowledged that it had become much too threatening for players. Football in the early 20th century was brutal, frequently resulting in serious injuries or deaths. As newspaper editorials called on high schools and colleges to banish football, one editor stated, “The once athletic sport has degenerated into a contest that for brutality is little better than the gladiatorial combats in the arena in ancient Rome.” Establishment of the NCAA eventually resulted from meetings at the White House, bringing about changes that actually saved football.
Preventing sports-related concussions and recognizing them when they do occur are challenges faced by every sports coach, from youth league activities through professional sports organizations. Learning more about these issues will hopefully result in making sports safer for all ages. I have been coaching youth sports for 12 years. One rule I live by: safety first.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him “Trial Lawyer of the Year” (2011). Super Lawyers recently named him among the “Top Ten” lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 100” lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) — national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.