PBS’ Frontline series received significant attention this week for the premier of “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” which premiered on October 8th at 9:00 p.m. This television program is based on the book of the same title written by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wadu. The authors are both employed by ESPN, however ESPN, who has a broadcast contract with the NFL, refused to get involved with the production of the documentary due to their multi-billion dollar financial interest in the NFL. The documentary and book shed light on the affirmative steps taken by the NFL for the past 20 years to deny any link between head trauma sustained while playing football and brain injury. The authors were able to uncover the truth of the matter, which is that the NFL paid “independent” doctors (who were obviously not independent because they were paid by the NFL) to author reports serving the interests of the NFL by either denying or downplaying the effects that head trauma can cause to the brain.
This story has garnered significant media exposure because the NFL is most popular sport in the United States. However, as any plaintiff’s personal injury or employee’s workers compensation attorney can tell you from first-hand experience, the NFL is not the biggest business or industry in our country that has shamelessly tried to deny or downplay the effects of head trauma to the brain. That distinction belongs to our country’s insurance industry which provides liability and workers compensation insurance to those who may cause brain injuries to others due to their negligent actions, or to employers who employ those who have suffered a brain injury at work. The insurance industry has been denying the link between head trauma and brain injury for even longer than the NFL, the only difference being that the insurance industry has spent tenfold in doing so and in turn saved themselves even more money by denying the link, all at the expense of those who have suffered serious brain injuries.