The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

NFL Takes Lessons from Military

Feb 26, 2024

In 2015, after long negotiations, the National Football League (NFL) agreed to pay money to former football players experiencing dementia.

Some 1,600 players have gotten some payout, although lawyers and doctors got much more than the individuals suffering. It turns out, as an investigation by Washington Post reporters showed, that at least 1,000 NFL players were denied claims for settlement for dementia. In the Post’s “Concussion Files,” dated February 4, 2024, reporters tell stories of players with dementia, some of whom died without a penny in NFL money. The article details NFL doctors denying claims sent by reputable doctors all over the country with long experience with dementia patients. The story documents racial profiling; it mentions autopsies that showed players died with CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is specifically associated with football players, who often suffer concussions while playing.

The NFL lawyers claim their definition of dementia was in the settlement, although players dispute that. The NFL definition of dementia requires that players meet a standard that is higher than that which doctors use widely throughout the U.S. As one neurologist interviewed put it, “I assume this [settlement] was written this way on purpose to save the NFL billions.”

During games, the NFL constantly promotes the military. Maybe that’s where they got the idea of denying claims. For many years the U.S. military denied claims for damage to the health of soldiers who were exposed to Agent Orange, a chemical dropped by the U.S. Air Force all over Vietnam. It seems the NFL denies many claims for treatment of former players in just the same way.