The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

9 Stories of NFL Concussion Plaintiffs

Columbia University School of Journalism (


Sports journalism is in fine hands if the Columbia School of Journalism’s sports website is any indication. Currently, the site features stories of nine different plaintiffs involved in the concussion litigation against the NFL. Every story, each written by a separate student contains unique insights about why the player is involved in the litigation and includes quotes from the players, teammates, friends and family members. What’s interesting about the articles is how  straightforward and reasonable the players statements are. None of the these players seem to expect that they’ll ever receive much compensation from the lawsuit. This completely goes against the whole money grab theory tossed around by some fans and possibly by even the team owners. For these players at least, they really played too long ago to have received the millions of dollars that players of their caliber routinely get today (Karl Mecklenburg may have come close, but he retired almost 20 years ago). Instead, their goals for the lawsuit seem much more modest than big payouts – improved healthcare coverage, concussion awareness and assistance to make it easier on their families in case they eventually are diagnosed and incapacitated by dementia or alzheimers.  It’s hard to argue with that.

Some of the interesting quotes include:

“What’s this? That’s my head. Not as long as you are here. That’s your weapon. Use it as a weapon.”

Michigan State Coach Louis Agase to former Paul Rochester, New York Jets 1964-69

“If your son is good at any other sport, maybe that is what he should pursue.”

“The human body is not designed for this sport.”

Jim Cheyunski, Linebacker 1968-1976

“You come to the sidelines, (trainers) hold up two fingers, ask you how many fingers? It’s always two, so you say two and you go back in. That’s what we did.”

“I had three concussions that last year (1994) and I didn’t ever really feel right until April the following season.”

“I expected the aches and pains I live with now. The problem is that the NFL systematically covered up and denied the long term effects of concussions when they knew that these effects existed.”

Karl Mecklenburg, Denver Broncos 6 Pro Bowls, son of an OB-GYN doctor

“(Concussions were) looked at as a minor injury – not like a knee or an ankle or elbow or something that was looked at and doctored and investigated. Once you could be alert and remember the plays and everything, whether it was a concussion or minor brain injury, however you wanna qualify it – you were back in the game.”

Lee Roy Jordan, Dallas Cowboys Middle Linebacker, 5 Pro Bowls

Below are links to each of these great stories at the Columbia website:

John Banaszak, Steelers, by Griselda Ramirez

Larry Cole, Dallas Cowboys, by Tony Maglio

Paul Rochester, New York Jets, by Jack Williams

Karl Mecklenburg, Denver Broncos, by Mike Bebernes

Floyd Little, Denver Broncos, by Luke Hammill

Jim Cheyunski, Baltimore Colts, by Elizabeth Murray

Terry Hanratty, Pittsburg Steelers, by Vidor Malik

Eric Crabtree, Cincinnatti Bengals by Isobel Markham

Bob Avellini, Chicago Bears, by Niki Blasina


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