SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau’s death Wednesday brings up concerns about football’s long term effects. Thursday more than 100 former players added their names to a list of more than 1,500 players in a lawsuit against the NFL.
The suit claims the league failed to protect players from brain injuries linked to concussion related injuries.
“What we know has happened is that the NFL knew these things, they didn’t warn the players, and they prevented others from studying this issue for a long period of time,” said Kirk Pope, an attorney representing the case.
As attention is drawn towards studying concussions around the country, here in Western Mass sports medicine departments such as Springfield College have been doing a lot of research in the field.
According to the Springfield College football team’s athletic trainer, concussions are on the rise in student athletes.
“Probably in the last four years, every year our concussions have increased in numbers at the school,” said Barclay Duggar, the Director of Athletic Training Services at Springfield College. “Not just with football but with all the sports.”
Duggar said concussions are being diagnosed more because more attention has been paid in order to keep athletes safe.
“I think the athletes are more aware of it and not so apt to hide there concussions and symptoms as they were in the past,” said Duggar, adding “and all this is educational for their benefit.”
Springfield college recently obtained a Biodex balance unit — to more accurately measure an athletes recovery from a concussion.
“It will pick up things that we might not see with a visual eye,” said Sue Guyer, of Springfield’s athletic training department.
The equipment is just a piece of the schools plan to keep athletes healthy both on the field and after athletics.