All posts by 215mag

Multifaceted lifestyle blog featuring the freshest happenings in Philly

Philadelphia District Court at Center of NFL Concussion Lawsuit

Philadelphia will be front and center in the National Football League’s latest legal woes, this time relating to concussions and their continuing effects on players lives and well-being long after they have retired.

Over 300 lawsuits have so far been filed by former football players or their spouses. Four of these cases will be consolidated and heard in Philadelphia by Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody.

So far cases have been submitted by players in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York and  New Jersey. Attorney Larry Coben filed the first lawsuit in August on behalf of two-time Super Bowl winner Ed McMahon and six other individuals. He said of the consolation of cases,

“(This) allows Judge Brody to now bring everybody together and put this in an organized environment where all the legal issues and the medical issues and the scientific issues can all be decided in one place.”

The cases allege intentional misconduct on the part of the NFL with regard to concussion related symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and dementia.

At the core of the issue is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that affects individuals who have experienced multiple head injuries and has in particular affected former NFL and NHL players. The suicide of former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson one year ago is a recent example of the tragedy that brain injuries sustained on the field have on the lives of players and their families long after their playing days are over.

Duerson was so convinced that the injuries he sustained during his playing career affected what he was about to do that he chillingly shot himself through his chest in order to preserve his brain for testing to further study the effects of CTE.

Brent Boyd, a former Minnesota Vikings lineman, is the only known living player who suffers from the condition.

As for what will take place in Philadelphia, Judge Brody will review pretrial evidence and findings that may pertain to the case to determine what is relevant and allowable. It is possible that the cases will then return to the districts in which they were filed after Judge Brody has completed her findings.

The NFL seems to be exploring a controversial approach to avoiding such lawsuits from players in the future. FOX Sports reports that the league is seeking to adopt language into contracts beginning in April following the draft that will prevent players from seeking legal recourse for any head injuries sustained during their playing careers. Per the report,

“Sources told The Daily a legal team is preparing a waiver that the NFL wants to insert into contracts of new players, starting with the draft in April. It would stipulate that the league will do its best to educate and protect players from concussions and head injuries, but the athletes will not be able to sue the NFL for any long-term medical issues caused by such injuries.”

The NFL faces an enormous challenge and responsibility in continuing to learn about the medical implications of repeated brain injuries and its role in preventing them. The league must manage the lawsuits against it and do right by those who gave their well-being to play football while at the same time constantly reviewing procedures for current players. While it is understood that football is a violent game, too many men have played too high a price playing America’s most popular sport.

Interview with Greg Trainor, self-published memiorist

Writer Molly Sprayregen interviewed Temple University student Greg Trainor, who recently published his memoir The Great White Whale Dick: A Memoir, which will benefit the Philadelphia Community Corps, through CreateSpace. The book is also available in e-book format through Trainor talked with about his decision to self-publish and the effect it has had.

MS: Why did you decide to self-publish?

GT: You know, you send out query letter after query letter to literary agents, and nobody wants to take a chance on anybody new, and, well, if you’re like me, I think, you know, if you read the first…I mean, I don’t know what you got out of the book, but I think if you read- they ask you to send the first 10,000 words or so, which is like basically the first three chapters. So what they got out of that was another Tucker Max, which I don’t think is what the book is at all. As far as the first three chapters go, yeah. So I think that didn’t go over with literary agents, and with being a new author, nobody wants to take a chance with you, so finally I decided. You know, writers in our generation don’t really need to wait, with all the print-on-demand options that are available, you can just put it out there if you’re actually confident with the book.

MS: At 353 pages, it’s pretty long. Did you cut out a lot of stuff, or did you just decide to include pretty much everything?

GT: I didn’t really cut out a lot, no. When I wrote it, the rough draft came pretty quickly, and after, when I was editing it, there were parts that I cut out, to protect the privacy of others, and stuff like that. There were things that I held back, but mostly I think I expanded on the rough draft. It’s hard to tell, ‘cause I would say when I was editing it-well, basically the way it worked was I wrote it, started writing January 6th, not with the intention of writing a memoir, I wanted to rewrite another book that was stolen, but I was just so angry, I couldn’t. So I decided I was going to just write a short story about what happened just to get over it, and three days later that short story was 75 pages long. And then a week later it was 150 pages long and I realized I was writing a book. And 28 days later I had a book.

MS: You talk a lot about the creation of your foundation, the Philadelphia Community Corps. Where is the PCC now?

GT: Uh, that is in process. Basically, you know, it’s been baby steps and I’ve been trying to figure out a way that I can do this again. In the beginning, it was a grassroots effort, “you know, I’m just going to use all my friends as volunteers”- and, uh, it was a big mistake. I picked the wrong people, I tried to force it, I was impatient. Basically, I’m a huge dreamer…and I paid for that idealism. So this time I’m trying to basically get it all formerly structured before I even bring anybody in.

MS: Any negative reactions to the book, from your family or friends?

GT: I think, when you publish this stuff, it’s out there and that it and you can’t take it back. And my family is going to have to deal with that, ‘cause it’s my life. And I hope that they enjoy it and support it, but if they don’t, that’s their choice. At a certain part, this is just who I am, and as a writer, you’re always going to take from your own life in some way. So even if it wasn’t non-fiction, people would find some reason to be upset.

The Great White Whale Dick is available via Trainor’s CreateSpace Estore.