By Jim Avila and Serena Marshall
Dan Marino, the all-star former football player known for his quick release as a quarterback, was announced as a marquee name in the new lawsuit charging the NFL hid concussion data from its players–but now, in the same day he’s reversing field and backing out.
In a statement this evening he said he “did not realize I would be automatically listed as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NFL.
“I have made the decision it is not necessary for me to be part of any claims or this lawsuit and therefore I am withdrawing as a plaintiff effective immediately. I am sympathetic to other players who are seeking relief who may have suffered head injuries. I also disclaim any references in the form complaint of current head injuries.”
Just this morning he was listed with 14 other players as a result, he said, of a claim he authorized last year on his behalf “just in case I needed future medical coverage to protect me and my family in the event I later suffered from the effects of head trauma.”
“He was in it and now here maybe not in it. Um, you kind of wonder what’s going on with Dan Marino?” ABC News consultant and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brenner said. “I mean the most famous of all the players we’ve heard about with concussions. His name was shot right to the top and it was..it had an impact I think overnight.”‘
The suit charges the NFL with allowing players to “…block, tackle, butt, spear, ram and or injure opposing players with their helmeted heads.” But Marino, who played 17 years in the NFL, isn’t really known for concussions, having suffered only two.
“It shows us that every single player, who has played the game at some point, is thinking about this. Is wondering about it and is worried about it,” Brennan said. “He’s wondering, clearly, after just a couple hits. Could this be a start of something that’s worse? Could it be debilitating? Could it affect his family? And that’s why he put his name on a lawsuit to start the process to let people know that he might be one of those people.”
People close to Marino told ESPN there were concerns Marino’s conversations with CEO Tom Garfinkel about a position with Dolphins could be jeopardized by an NFL lawsuit.
Researchers across the country have been racing to find a solution to the hard hits in football.
At the University of Alabama Birmingham an effort is underway to invent a better helmet— helmet testing hasn’t been updated since 1969.
“The drop test was based on skull fractures. Back in the ’60s that was the biggest problem – skull fractures,” Dean Sicking, associate vice president for Product Development at UAB explained. “But they haven’t gone to the next step which is to address the next biggest safety problem when they eliminated skull fractures… which is concussions.”
Tracking, not only the head-on force, but the twisting torque and rotation that causes even more damage to the player.
“When two helmets strike each other they frequently generate a rotational effect that causes one players’ head to rotate very rapidly and that causes a shearing action where all the veins and other connective tissues that are attached to the brain start twisting and being stretched around the outside and that can cause another source of trauma and it’s been shown be an important source of concussions,” Sicking said.
Those hits have NFL players current and former from quarterback to linebacker concerned for their health.