Posted January 28, 2014

Jahvid Best suing NFL over concussions

Detroit Lions, NFC North, NFL safety
Jahvid Best suffered at least five concussions over the course of his career in the NCAA and NFL.

Jahvid Best suffered at least five concussions over the course of his career in the NCAA and NFL. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

More than two years after he last played an NFL game, former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best has filed a lawsuit against the league on the grounds that it “was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries … but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information.” Equipment company Riddell, which manufactures the NFL’s helmets, also was named in the suit. Best suffered at least five concussions in his career — three with the Lions and two at Cal.

The Detroit Free Press first reported on the filing.

According to the Free Press‘ Dave Birkett, Best also has a pending worker’s compensation claim against the Lions. The team was not named in the recent lawsuit.

“We are aware of the suit,” the team said in a statement, per Birkett, “but we have no additional comment as we are not a party.”

Best’s attorney, Bret Schnitzer, told ESPN.com that one of the main goals of this recent lawsuit is “to set up a medical fund for Mr. Best in order to deal with future medical conditions out of this concussion syndrome.

“As I am sure you are probably aware through various media and the Frontline program and so on, the brain injuries with concussion syndrome does not necessarily manifest itself completely immediately, as you can see from the other cases,” Schnitzer continued. “Sometimes it is 10, 20 years where the brain injury process takes to develop and it’s not necessarily going to show itself in a 24-, 25-year-old football player to the extent that it might 10, 15, 20 years down the road.

“So one of the goals of the litigation is to protect Mr. Best down the road in terms of his medical condition and problems that he may have in the future.”

Best was the 30th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage as a rookie, thus providing Detroit’s long-stagnant run game with a glimmer of hope. However, he played just six games in his second NFL season and was released by the Lions prior to the 2013 season.

USA Today reported at the time that Best “hasn’t given up on playing again,” but that he still was not medically cleared to take the field as of August 2013.

Best reportedly joined Cal’s coaching staff earlier this month. He will serve as a student assistant while he works to complete his degree.

86 comments
Max10
Max10

Sorry, but this is complete BS. Javid - we all saw you take a nasty shot and have a seizure in COLLEGE (maybe against my UW Huskies - I can't recall).

But unless you employed a complete idiot for a doctor )and lawyer), from my experience (I have a special needs daughter taken care of by the top neurosurgeons in the Western US), you were a complete IDIOT to play again. Sorry, but an IDIOT. My daughter has a huge list of things she can't do again - and we are smart enough to stick with it. There is NO WAY a solid neurosurgeon told you to play in the NFL after that brain injury. Sorry dude - NO WAY.

Go back and look at that film. I never saw (or have seen since) a college or pro player have a 'grand mall' seizure like that. You were LUCKY to be alive afterwards. it freaked EVERYONE out.

For (1), I have no idea why any pro-team drafted you after that. It wasn't a basic concussion. You could have died on the field dude. Be honest and stop trying to take advantage of the system.

(2) If that had been my son (who suffered the 'Joe Theismann compound Tib/Fib leg snap' last year, he would/will not play again (regardless of how much he wants to). Parent mandate. Where were your parents? MY son snapped his lower leg (very badly - 3-months in a wheelchair). You smashed your brain into a seizure.... who the hell was your neurologist?

(3) In the end, YOU are responsible. Maybe you didn't take advantage of your Cal full-ride and get a decent degree, and decided you HAD to try playing in the NFL, but THAT is your fault. Accidents happen to all of us every day. Take responsibility.


You NEVER should have tried to go pro. You are lucky to be able to speak and walk. Why the hell are you now blaming others? Be a MAN and take ownership.


I hope your brain injury never gets worse, but the LAST thing you should do is ANY contact sports, period. WHAT were you thinking?


I know, with the Obama mindset, it's always someone's fault (somebody else always), but the day I saw you experience that seizure( I was devastated (my daughter has had similar seizures), and I looked at my son and we agreed you should NEVER try football again.).


Sorry for the tough love, but I have a very hard time with this. It's like riding a motorcycle on the freeway after being in a coma for 3-months due to a brain injury. You just DON'T do that.


But alas, it's all about the money...

Octavio
Octavio

SPOONS MADE ME FAT!!!

OconnorPainting
OconnorPainting

GUYS MUST KNOW WHAT THE HELL THERE ARE GETTING INTO THEY SHOULD HAVE TO SIGN  A WAVER TO PLAY FOOTBALL

glees12
glees12

So the NFL and Riddell was responsible for that first one in college when he tried to dive into the end zone and ended up falling on his head after dropping about six feet?  No helmet in the world would have saved him there.  Should someone have had to explain to him it was not a good idea to vault himself like that?  If he didn't know after that one he may be at risk, he was a complete idiot.

Coctostan
Coctostan

The analog to this would be if a coal mine operator knew that a mine was at high risk of collapse and either failed to inform or actively hid that from the miners causing death or injury. Should the miners have assumed all of the risk or should the mine operator be required to be diligent in ensuring all known safety precautions were taken? Worse, did the mine operator commit fraud by saying the mine was safe when it knew it was not?


The only difference between a miner and a football player is the salary. Every miner, like every football player, knows it is a risky profession. The question is whether they were provided full disclosure on the level of danger. It is unlikely the courts would take salary into account.


The issue at hand is whether the NFL had specific and credible information that would have prevented the damages endured by Mr. Best. Mr. Best will need to prove that and prove that the NFL did not convey this risk and protect their employee. If the NFL had this knowledge and didn't stop him from playing they could be found negligent. 


It is obviously not cut and dry. If the NFL had no knowledge and more importantly never covered it up, there wouldn't be a case. Although there is evidence out there, it isn't clear how a judge or jury would see the level of the NFL's responsibility in this matter and how credible this evidence is.

Huskerstildeath
Huskerstildeath

Wow, what a shocked, another player out of the league looking for a paycheck. Why, I would never expect it. Please, I can remember in 94 get a concussion from my head bouncing off concrete. And my mom would tell me that if I took too many of those my head would messed up for life. Hell, I remember that everyone said Ali had Parkinson's disease because of all the punches he took to the head. Please, it takes no genius to figure out that blows to the head will mess you up. Best, I wish you nothing but the worse! HA, see what I did there?

RobRomero
RobRomero

His lawsuit has no merit considering he himself was made fully aware of the dangers of concussions in college when he suffered a string of concussions in his junior year, including the one against Oregon State that ended his season when he was hit in mid-air in the endzone and he fell on the back of his head. Those who watched then knew that he should have walked away from the sport then but he instead chose to enter the NFL Draft and put himself at further risk to exacerbate the damage that was already done to his head.

SculptorDad
SculptorDad

The lawsuit isn't about the concussions, nitwits; it's about employers knowingly concealing evidence of harm.

eddie767
eddie767

How is it the NFL fault? He missed the end of his last college season, b/c of concussions. He's suing the wrong ppl. He should be suing himself,his agent,and anyone else he was supporting. If you continually get concussions in college, what did you think would happen in the NFL?

Alex1
Alex1

And people wonder why the leagues rules are changing. If any time a player gets hurt theyre going to get sued, what do you do?


I feel bad hes suffering, but to think hes going to win a suit agaisnt the nfl is crazy. As mentioned in the passage, he had 2 concussions at cal. Im sure the nfl would dig and probably find one or two before that time. And unless he shows the concussions are Ridell's fault, I doubt he has much chance there.

caleb
caleb

If this is successful, and a judge finds Riddell liable, what comes next? There's not a helmet  maker out there who will continue to allow the NFL to use their product knowing that they will be held responsible every time someone gets a concussion.

RichLGerhold
RichLGerhold

Adidas didn't properly inform me that running all those years on their cleats would cause my knee's to fail. 

After two knee surgery's I think it's Adidas, Puma, Diadora, and Nike's fault for not disclosing that running repetitively all those years and having the impact of my legs hitting the ground might cause me to have future knee problems later in life. 

As such I'll be suing Adidas, Puma, Diadora, and Nike in the near future for damages. I'm also debating on suing the sock companies since they were involved too.

I might also sue the grass company if they're still in business all these years later, as well as the people and companies who put in the fake grass surface that I played on during indoor soccer as well. 

I think I'll also sue the trees, they made the wood that those indoor soccer walls were made from as well and surely I was pushed into said walls over the years, that only further escalated the damage to my knees.

They all knew the dangers and hid them from me for 30 years. So it's high time they paid for their indifference.

I think it's definitely time they all pay for misleading me and the billions of other kids all these years who have suffered from not being informed of all those risks..

Aaron14
Aaron14

Look at all the vitriol in these comments!  You don't think the guy is seriously suffering?  So why are you cracking wise on here?  Whether you think the NFL or Ridell should be paying is another point entirely but your inhumane comments disgust me.  Sounds like Josef Mengele is writing half the comments on here.

JosephBagadoughnutz
JosephBagadoughnutz

get your money.   screw the stupid fans.  this entire sport is ridiculous.  get your money, and laugh at the moronic fan base

Jerkzilla
Jerkzilla

2 dings at Cal.  You were damaged goods when you were coming to the NFL.  Let Cal or your High School pay for ya.  NEXT!

thewhitemamba1
thewhitemamba1

NFL bust wants one last shot at some fast cash. You knew the risks when you went into the league but that didn't you. Especially being undersized. Just go home. 

MrArlington
MrArlington

Fu​ck off Best. Just go off into the sunset. The people are not on your side..

marcusb2323
marcusb2323

Unreal. Just another Democrat looking for a handout.

Max10
Max10

@OconnorPainting  wrong. Having a child with brain disorders, it's very complicated. Javid should have had a neurosurgeon agree that he could play again. THAT is who is responsible. There is no way in hell he should have ever put on a helmet again... I know... unfortunately, due to one of my children.

Max10
Max10

@beesknees18  Javid was a fantastic college player. He almost died on the field that day. I know - I have a daughter who experiences the same types of seizures. One day, it will be the last. I know this, and everyday I worry about it more than you can possibly comprehend.

Yes we all need money, but Javid, his agent, his neurologist and lawyer should be sued for this. They told this kid he could play and be fine. NO-ONE will EVER be the same after what he experienced. Go and look at the film, and then pull-up on the internet what a 'grand mall' seizure is. People often get their skulls cracked open for this to relieve pressure. Basically, your brain can't suppress the nerves in the body to stop reacting (all of them) and everything goes crazy. People DIE from seizures. This wasn't some wuss-arse concussion we all had in high school footbsll. Javid could have DIED on the field that day. He NEVER should have played again. 

I believe: All Universities should have $5M insurance policies on ALL players for situations like this. They make huge revenue for the Universities - so then cover their arse's with insurance policies. Javid was one of the best ever - like a DeShaun Jackson (same school).

He needs to target the school, lawyer, neurosurgeon who cleared him, and those who said he would be fine. NO ONE will EVER be fine after seizures like this. My daughter's friends have them all the time (terrible thing). After each episode, they lose more and more cognitive abilities. Javid's doctors were/are f'ing morons. We lose a couple of kids each year...

Javid could end up like Muhammed Ali - BUT, he needs to go after those who said he could play again at the next level. After I saw him seize that day, I honestly threw up, since I know what it's all about. When I heard he was being drafted, I shook my head and told my son that in a year, he could suffer injuries that could not be fixed. Seems I was right.


Javid: step back. Don't listen to your sleeze bag lawyer. Who the hell told you you could play a sport with major weekly head trauma again? Go after THEM!

Alex1
Alex1

@glees12He played 4 years in high school, 3 years in college, and 22 total games in the NFL. So naturally the NFL is at fault

WilliamCross
WilliamCross

I'm going to wait until the courts weigh in on "merit", thanks anyway random, anonymous internet know it all.

Max10
Max10

@SculptorDad  Again, he didn't have a concussion. Hie seizure was FAR FAR more extreme.

TimDeGrinney
TimDeGrinney

If it were just about concussion, you are right. It's about CTE and what the NFL knew and attempted to conceal

Mikey A
Mikey A

@RichLGerhold You should probably sue Tampax for apparently not providing you with a lifetime supply of tampons as well.

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@RichLGerhold Big difference, you PAID to be a part of the sport you played. Football was Best's career. His case actually has some points that a court of law will look at. Your case will be laughed right out of the building and you will become even more of a joke than you already are, which is amazing. 

Steven17
Steven17

@Aaron14 I understand how you feel about the comments, and I agree with your view.  It's part of the internet and it's not going to change or go away.  That said, there's a certain degree of justification for the comments.  These guys knowingly suit up to play a game that is very violent.  Then when they get hurt they cry foul, and look to blame others.  When you do that you're going to get the backlash.  

toyota_tundra
toyota_tundra

@JosephBagadoughnutz He got his money when he signed his contract. There are certain risk associated with playing a violent sport like football. No one asked him to play football, he like many others, followed their passion and/or the money. And to boot, a lot of players knew they had concussions, but hid it from the doctors so they could get back on the field. There is a thing called "personal responsibility" that seems to have been overlooked here. Not saying that the NFL is 100% off the hook, but the players definitely should bare part of the responsibility.

Max10
Max10

@Jerkzilla  Dings? You never even played Pop Warner. I played Div1. Javid had a brutal brain injury. Cal is responsible for even letting him ever play again. The guy is lucky he can speak, eat and walk. This was NO basic concussion.

JoshMcKay
JoshMcKay

@marcusb2323 I wonder how many registered republicans stand in line for their welfare . . . 

glees12
glees12

@Alex1 @glees12 Exactly right.  Can't get any money out of the high school or college, so why not the NFL?

Max10
Max10

@WilliamCross  Dude, Do your homework. A Grand Mall seizure and concussion (like most of us had in high school (they called it 'getting your bell rung') and we were sent back in to play are completely different.

Javid should NEVER have been cleared to play again. His brain was severely traumatized.

Max10
Max10

@Mikey A @RichLGerhold  Ignorant. Ever had a Grand Mall seizure? This kid's 'money jerks' put his life on the line. This isn't one of the Tampax you use.

gymviking
gymviking

@Voiceover310 @RichLGerhold Well, you would just be wrong, but since Best's injuries first occurred when he was not a professional you are really wrong.


By 2011, when he signed, the "dangers" of concussions was relatively common knowledge. To accept great amounts of money to take on that risk does not absolve someone of their own decision. 

donald5
donald5

@SculptorDad @donald5  I think you are playing with semantics and trying to compartmentalize issues that are entwined.  If there were no concussions, there would be no lawsuit.  They would have nothing to hide.  Therefor the issues of concussions is paramount to the lawsuit. 


I think categorizing people as nitwits for seeing the two issues as reliant on each-other is a bit arrogant.