The concussion lawsuit against the NFL gained a new level of gravitas recently when another Hall of Famer joined the almost 5,000 former players presently involved in the litigation.
Dan Marino was one of 14 former players who added their names to the list of plaintiffs in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia and the presence of the Miami Dolphins’ Hall of Fame quarterback is significant more for the number of small, constant hits he took than for significant concussions during his career. In his filing, he asserts that he suffered from “repetitive, traumatic sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts.”
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Marino, 52, had no immediate comment when reached by the Los Angeles Times’ Nathan Fenno, who first reported the Marino filing, but one of his attorneys is co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the consolidated litigation against the league. Although a $765 settlement was reached last summer, a federal judge rejected it in January because of her concerns over whether the monetary figure is sufficient.
“We continue to work at the direction of the Court and Special Master as they review the settlement agreement and rightfully ensure that all members of the class are protected,” Sol Weiss, one of Marino’s attorneys, and Chris Seeger, the other co-lead counsel, said in a statement provided to the Times. “We look forward to finalizing this agreement so that former players can soon begin taking advantage of its benefits.”
Although big-name players like Jim McMahon, Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson are among the plaintiffs, the arrival of Marino raises the case’s profile yet again. Marino, who was recently replaced on CBS’ “NFL Today,” will be a charismatic presence among the plaintiffs, especially if he describes a moment in 1992 when he only briefly left a game with a concussion. “When he came out of the game in the fourth quarter,” Dolphins coach Don Shula said then, “he wasn’t sure where he was.” And yet he returned to the game. It was a different time, but, as the recent lawsuit over painkillers shows, the question of involvement and awareness by teams and medical personnel will continue to be at issue. As Mike Freeman of the Bleacher Report writes, “This is where the concussion lawsuits get interesting, and Marino adding his name only intensifies this entire issue. Did doctors then send players like him back into the game knowing there was the potential for long-term damage to the brains of players? Did they put winning the game over his health?”
Now, the plaintiffs have Dan Marino on their team.
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