As Portis Joins Concussion Lawsuit against NFL, More Athletes Should Think About Long-Term Consequences over Short-Term Reward

Founder of DarrasLaw Discusses the Importance of Disability and Long-Term Care Insurance for Athletes

August 20, 2013

Retired Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis has joined other players in concussion litigation according to a report in the Washington Times on August 14, 2013. Portis is the lead plaintiff in an 83-player lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Other notable players include Daunte Culpepper and Cadillac Williams. The lawsuit alleges that Portis is dealing with headaches and is at "heightened risk of developing further adverse neurological symptoms in the future".

On August 14, 2013, according to CBS, Portis had at least 10 concussions in his career and would regularly play through them. "The truth is I had a lot of concussions. It was just the way things were at the time. I'd get hit hard and be woozy. I'd be dizzy. I'd take a play off and then go back in...This happened all the time," said Portis.

The NFL is now facing dozens of lawsuits, with more than 4,500 plaintiffs, from former players who say their lives have been negatively affected by brain damage suffered on the field.

It's not just the NFL facing heat for football-related injuries. In a recent blog post by the Huffington Post, the NCAA's response to concussions was called "barbaric". Despite research, the NCAA does not yet have a comprehensive policy on concussions for its member schools, only "general guidelines". The guidelines fail to mention limits on contact in practice, have no rules for detecting and screening brain injuries, and include no consequences if a member school fails to come up with a plan and enforce.

" Brain injuries caused from frequent concussions is nothing new and the long-term effects on player's brains are no secret. Yet, professional leagues, such as the NFL and the collegiate NCAA, are falling short in both preventive care and post-concussion treatment. The motto is to suck it up and get back out there. They are thinking about the short-term reward and not the long-term consequences," says Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer.

Darras has long proclaimed the importance of disability and long-term care insurance policies for professional athletes. While some NFL teams take out disability policies for key players, there is nothing in place to protect retired athletes who are still suffering from the negative effects that years of concussions have done to their brains.

"Now is the time for all pro athletes to invest in a disability or long-term care policy. There is no better protection for your future. The game will end, but the damage stays. You need to have a back-up plan in case the game forces you into a long-term disability now, or later in life. Long-term care as a senior citizen, gets expensive, even for a well-off former NFL player," says Darras.

According to Portis' Twitter feed, he holds no ill will against the NFL or the Redskins. It's also not about the money as he is "doing just fine". He simply wants " protection for the future".