Lawyer: ‘Not surprised’ if NFL players sue for missed concussions

Sports

(NewsNation) — The NFL seemingly whiffed on what some said were obvious signs of a concussion for Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker after a collision in Monday night’s game against the Cardinals.

Parker’s teammate, Nelson Agholor, waved his hands to stop the game so that Parker could take a seat before the next play. And now Parker is calling out the NFL for dropping the ball.

“Get on yalls f—in jobs @NFL,” Parker said in an Instagram post, before thanking Agholor for being “aware of the situation.”

“I was hoping we were past leaving obviously concussed players on the field,” Dr. Chris Nowinski said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Wednesday.

Nowinski, a neuroscientist and the founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, highlighted the NFL’s missed call on Twitter. He said he wasn’t surprised at how bad the league blew it.

“There’s 30 medical professionals at every game, but then something like this, where the millions of fans all watching saw the concussion, and apparently, the only people who didn’t was everybody who had a responsibility for stopping that person who could even play,” Nowinski said.

Justin Zolot, a Nashville-based Patriots fan, attended Monday’s game in Glendale, Arizona, and said even he knew something was wrong after Parker went down.

“It wasn’t till they lined up, (but) something was seriously wrong. It wasn’t until the next play, but it was scary,” Zolot said on “Rush Hour.”

“It makes you just wonder: How much do they care? Are they investing enough resources in this? And are they holding people accountable?” Nowinski said.

Dr. Tom Pitts, who serves on the Board of Certified Neurologists, told “Rush Hour” that the concussion protocols are being hindered by “human error” and “cultural problems.”

“The protocol, on paper, the algorithm kind of makes sense. But you see this happen time and time again because we have these people in place but they don’t seem to execute,” Pitts said.

The NFL and NFLPA were forced to amend their concussion protocols earlier this season after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was allowed to return to a game against Buffalo after suffering an apparent concussion, and then four days later, (he) was taken off on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital after hitting his head on the ground again in Cincinnati.

Both the NFL and the players union agreed to add ataxia — or visible signs of head trauma — to the list of “no-go” symptoms in the protocol.

But, the league missed the one with Parker.

An attorney who deals with head trauma cases told “Rush Hour” he wouldn’t be surprised if we see a current player sue if the league makes a mistake like this again — and something catastrophic happens.

“If you’ve got somebody in the game who’s got a concussion, and doesn’t have full control, you know, the subsequent injury that they are going to be exposed to can be very horrific — and I hope that doesn’t happen. But if it ever did, then absolutely, you’re going to have a player turn to the NFL and say, ‘your protocols failed me,’” George Salinas, an attorney for George Salinas Injury Lawyers, said.

Andrew Brandt, an NFL media insider and the executive director of the Moorad Center of Sports Law, agreed.

“You could sue for lost earnings,” Brandt said. “If Tua, if DeVante Parker, have a shorter career than they would have had, that’s a different kind of suit. We could see that.”

The National Football League Player Association is investigating the incident.

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