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FENNO: Pat White return to NFL would set troubling precedent
Look over the 4,182 former players suing the NFL over head injuries and the damage is difficult to miss.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer who couldn’t speak during the last four years of his life.
The 1,400-yard rusher who needs a tape recorder to recall basic conversations and experiences the world through blurred vision and ringing ears.
The middle-aged Super Bowl MVP terrified by growing memory lapses and forgetfulness.
The All-Pro wide receiver in a nursing home unable to care for himself.
Then there’s Pat White.
Normally, the Redskins signing a failed second-round pick who hasn’t taken a regular-season NFL snap since 2009 would barely rate a mention.
But last April, White sued the NFL in federal court. Claimed the league’s equipment didn’t protect him from head injuries. Claimed multiple traumatic brain injuries. Claimed headaches, sleeplessness and mood swings.
In November, White switched lawyers and sued again. Some of the 222 lawsuits filed against the league simply list plaintiffs and their hometowns. The most basic details. White’s complaint alleged a comprehensive, devastating cost from “repeated and chronic head impacts.” Permanent injuries, the lawsuit said. Permanent.
The lawsuit rattled off White’s alleged problems: “Cognitive and other difficulties, severe headaches, speech issues, memory loss, depression, isolation, mental anguish and diminished self-esteem.”
White accused the NFL of concealing the long-term consequences of head injuries. Eleven causes of action in all. Fraud. Negligence. Even added “intentional infliction of emotional distress” and “negligent infliction of emotional distress” in his short-form complaint.
All that disappeared when the possibility of an NFL contract materialized this week.
On Tuesday, White voluntarily dismissed the second lawsuit, according to federal court records reviewed by The Washington Times. On Wednesday, the quarterback dismissed the first lawsuit and showed up at Redskins Park to resume his professional football career.
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About the Author
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