Eugene Egdorf Comments on Potential NFL Concussion Lawsuit Following Death of Aaron Hernandez

Eugene EgdorfFormer New England Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez recently took his own life after being acquitted in a double murder case. Although he was currently serving a life sentence in connection to another murder, his story made headlines across the country. Aside from the tragic consequences involved in his infamous narrative, Hernandez’ death is also raising some interesting issues in regard to a potential sports concussion lawsuit.

Because Hernandez was a former NFL athlete, his estate may be able to file a lawsuit against the National Football League, and potentially the NCAAA as well, if researchers are able to discover that he was suffering from a football-related brain injury at the time of his death. According to experts and our firm’s own Eugene Egdorf, however, the case would be far from easy.

In March of last year, the NFL officially acknowledged the link between football-related head trauma and a number of degenerative conditions that can affect the brain, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and more. Later that year, the NFL reached a settlement in a long-running case with former players and families who alleged the NFL concealed what they knew about long-term concussion risks. The $1 billion settlement will provide compensation to retired athletes, or their families, who are diagnosed with various degenerative brain conditions as a result of their football career.

After his death, Hernandez’ estate moved to have his brain tested for signs of disease related to repetitive head trauma, including CTE, which is found in many former athletes and is diagnosable only after death. When considering the terms of the NFL settlement, however, Hernandez, would likely not be eligible for concussion payouts because he was not diagnosed before the April 22, 2015 cutoff date set by the settlement.

This gives rise to a potential lawsuit against the NFL by Hernandez’ estate which would argue that because Hernandez did not officially retire, he would not be subject to the terms of the settlement. The NFL would likely counter that argument by stating he effectively retired when he was arrested in 2013, and would therefore not be entitled to compensation should test results indicate he suffered from CTE or another qualifying condition.

In an article recently published by the Boston Herald, Shrader & Associates L.L.P. Senior Counsel Eugene Egdorf, who handles our firm’s sport-related head injury cases, shared his insight on the issue, stating that Hernandez’ legal team will have to argue that he never retired. “They would have to argue he is not part of the settlement, and that they are free to sue the league, the Patriots, and others.” Hernandez’ estate may also have similar options for suing the NCAA in connection to head injuries he suffered while playing for the University of Florida.

Shrader & Associates L.L.P. is actively involved in representing athletes of all levels when they have suffered harm as the result of concussions and repetitive head injuries. Whether your child suffered a concussion in youth sports as a result of poor management and oversight or your career has been sidelined due to head injuries, our legal team is readily available to review your case and discuss whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Led by Attorney Eugene Egdorf, who is considered one of the most respected sports law attorneys in the nation, our firm has a proven record in handling sports-related concussion cases. This includes a landmark case against the NCAA, in which Mr. Egdorf was able to effectively advocate on behalf of the family of a deceased student athlete. His work was also instruments in sparking an NCAA recommendation that all collegiate athletes be subject to testing for the sickle cell trait in order to avoid fatal complications.

If you have questions about a potential sports injury or concussion case, contact our firm for a FREE consultation.

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