The Pro Football Concussion Report

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

Marino Concussion Worry A Grim Reminder

Dan Marino NFL
Dan Marino signs 3 yr. $17M contract, 1996. (AP)


When news of the NFL concussion lawsuit of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino first appeared in the Penn Record on May 30, journalist Jim Boyle termed it “another salvo in the ongoing litigation by retired players against the league.” Here, it was quickly noted that Marino’s lawsuit represented a public reversal by the former NFL TV commentator:

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Several days later, after news spread about the surprising lawsuit by the former employee of CBS TV’s, The NFL Today, Marino was compelled to drop his name from the litigation. Regardless of whether Marino is actually signed up as a plaintiff or not, the publicity that story brought back to the brain injury litigation served as a grim reminder of how much anxiety former players must really have about their longterm health.

While some legal pundits looked at Marino’s reversal as potentially embarrassing for the plaintiffs in the massive litigation vs. the league,

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others recognized the positive light, Marino’s actions directed back to the case.

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Indeed, Heitner points out in his Forbes piece:

“Despite the fact that he is withdrawing his name as a plaintiff, the deed is done — his filing serves as a reminder that thousands of former NFL players continue to suffer from injuries without receiving the relief many of whom desperately need.” 


For the Watergate conspiracy writers, the reversal was just another sign of the NFL’s overreaching powers:

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With all the different perspectives, perhaps the most telling was that of the man himself. Marino’s statement to the press in announcing that he was withdrawing his name from the NFL concussion lawsuit showed his apparent concern for his longterm health:


“Within the last year I authorized a claim to be filed on my behalf just in case I needed future medical coverage to protect me and my family in the event I later suffered from the effects of head trauma.”


In the past Marino had made comments that could be construed as negative toward the litigation, but something about Marino’s simple statement seemed to communicate the anxiety many former football players must share about their potential health consequences. As much as the “the players know what the risk are”” and “it’s gonna be like flag football” macho statements are put out there (Those are both Marino statements, circa 2013), his straightforward concern about later suffering from the “effects of head trauma” is a bit chilling.


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