Reporting Kevin Battle
Former Atlantic Falcons safety Ray Easterling committed suicide over the weekend. Mr. Easterling was one of the first plaintiffs in NFL concussion lawsuits. There are now more than 1,000 players involved in similar lawsuits against the NFL.
Former Baltimore Colt Bruce Laird was devastated by the news of Mr. Easterling death. He joined The Norris & Davis Show to give insight, ‘It’s another young player devastated with multiple concussions who has committed suicide. We had Mike Webster, Terry Long, Andre Waters and now, Ray Easterling. It really does sink home. You are really seeing where the long term effects of what you do as a football player takes its toll on families.’
Listen to entire interview here:
Mr. Laird had multiple concussions as a player and has been at the forefront of getting aid for former players through his ‘Fourth and Goal’ Foundation. He was asked what the effects on his brain have been. ‘What I learned about that. All those dings that we had? When you got dinged and I’m seeing stars a little bit? That was a small brain trauma. That was your brain hitting the side of your skull,’ Laird said.
Brain injuries are devastating but Laird’s concern isn’t for himself, ‘I’m really more concerned, not for me, but for my family because I’ve seen the tragedy these families have to go through.’
Mr. Laird contends that ‘the league and the team doctors knew that concussions were very, very harmful and could lead to some of these instances of early dementia and so on. There were articles written in the ‘40s about concussions…and none of this was ever brought up to us as players.’
With this week’s spotlight on the NFL Draft, Mr. Laird was asked about health concerns for new players coming into the league. Will the new information deter anyone from playing? ‘I don’t think it will. But, what it will do, especially if they get their families involved, if it does happen to them and they get more than one (concussion) they will realize that, maybe, they got to stop (playing) this game now.’
The fight for the retired players and widows continues at fourthandgoalunites.com .