Before today, I truly believed there was some merit to lawsuits against the NFL as a result of head injuries. Maybe there still is, and maybe I’m just being overly pessimistic here, but the end of sanity on Earth has officially arrived.
According to the Detroit News, ex-Lions punter Jim Arnold has joined 25 other former NFL players in suing the league, claiming the NFL covered up the risks associated with concussions for years.
Arnold tole the Detroit News, “I wasn’t somebody that was just going to lie down in front of a guy and let him go. I was gong to do whatever it took to help my teammates so it wouldn’t be a big return. So I didn’t mind sticking my nose in the middle of it.”
Good for you Mr. Arnold. You’re a member of a rare group of punters and kickers that are willing to sacrifice your body to save your team a touchdown. I truly appreciate your commitment to laying the lumber on any returner audacious enough to try to run one of your kicks back.
Here’s my problem. Punters and kickers don’t take many hits, and they certainly don’t hit many other players. There’s a line in the sand of what is feasible, and this just crosses it. Maybe he did suffer brain damage as a result of an on field hit, and maybe he didn’t. The problem is there’s just no way of knowing. When I was in middle school, I slipped on the ice and hit my head. Following the hit, I didn’t remember anything. In fact, when my head finally cleared enough to function normally, I was sitting at my computer playing a video game, and I haven’t the slightest idea how I got there. That doesn’t mean I’m entitled to some financial compensation.
I truly hope the courts throw out this particular lawsuit. Jim Arnold was a punter that likely took a few tough hits in his career. Everyone takes a rough hit to the head from time to time. Maybe you stand up in your cellar and hit your head, or maybe you’re working on your car and bump your head as you lean forward to grap a wrench. Who knows? We all sustain head injuries, and I’m not buying that Arnold deserves compensation. Not all players involved in these lawsuits are seeking an extra payday, but this particular instance smells rotten.