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Paul Oliver's family sues NFL over suicide of former defensive back

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/...ul-oliver-family-sues-over-his-suicide-092314

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The wife and sons of former San Diego Chargers defensive back Paul Oliver sued the NFL for wrongful death, blaming sports-related concussions for his suicide last year.

    The suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the league, the Chargers, the New Orleans Saints and the corporations that own several helmet manufacturers. It also alleges fraud and negligence.

    It says that Oliver, 29, shot himself to death in front of his wife, Chelsea, and two sons last September at his home in Marietta, Georgia, about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta.

    The suit alleges that his death was a "direct result of the injuries, depression and emotional suffering caused by repetitive head trauma and concussions suffered as a result of playing football, not properly appreciating football's risks with respect to head trauma" and using defective helmets.

    The suit claims that Oliver suffered "mood, memory and anger issues" associated with repetitive head trauma and that after his death, a pathologist confirmed that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    That is a progressive degenerative brain disease found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma, according to the CTE Center at Boston University's medical school.

    The suit contends that the NFL and others knew for decades about risks associated with such injuries but concealed the information, leaving Oliver ignorant about the risks of play when making football decisions "from his first snap of youth football to his tragic death."

    It also claims the NFL encourages players to disregard the results of violent head impacts and glorifies the "brutality and ferocity" of football as a marketing strategy.

    The Saints declined to comment. Messages left for representatives of the NFL and Chargers weren't immediately returned after hours Tuesday night.

    The NFL has proposed a $765 million settlement of a different concussion-injury lawsuit that could affect thousands of athletes.

    Earlier this month, in a report prepared for the federal judge handling that class action case in Philadelphia, the NFL released actuarial data estimating that nearly three in 10 former players will develop debilitating brain conditions, and that they will be stricken earlier and at least twice as often as the general population.
     
  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Not to belittle the issue and the family's loss, but how if the NFL solely responsible for his apparent brain damage? Did he not take hits to the head in college and high school? What about Pop Warner?..... don't those hits count, especially when a kid's brain is still developing (assuming he played at that age).

    I know that the NFL hid it's knowledge of brain trauma for years, but to win a lawsuit against the league, you'd have to prove they were uniquely responsible. I don't see how you could ever prove that.
     
  3. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I agree, but this will probably be tried in the court of public opinion more than the court of law.
     
  4. Joy Division

    Joy Division Slightly-known Member

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    It's a shotgun approach to a lawsuit. The NFL is responsible (since they knew about it and will pay to make it go away), the other entities being sued will be much tougher to win against (without them expressing knowledge of the issue). Pop Warner, high school, colleges etc is irrelevant in this lawsuit, since they are not the ones being sued. Why this case wasn't included in an NFLPA's class action lawsuit is odd...
     
  5. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    All I know is that its going to be tough to get him to testify...
     
  6. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    The man was wearing bolts just 3 seasons ago.
     
  7. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Paul Oliver case brings up scary link
    By Kevin Acee
    SEPT. 24, 2014


    We’ve heard so much about the effects of concussions, even become familiar with the medical term, Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.

    We, in San Diego, lost an icon, in no small part due to its effects.

    We’ve digested the gargantuan numbers being fought over by the National Football League, former players and their families as restitution.

    And mostly, we’ve moved on.

    Lately, we’ve been disturbed and distracted by the horror of NFL players hitting women and children. Domestic violence is our new cause, though that almost certainly is destined to also fade as fantasy football and playoff pushes become our focus.

    But news this week should cause us to pause and consider the idea that the punishment endured by players on the field intersects with the punishment those close to some of them might endure.

    We can’t draw any hard conclusions, no matter what substantiation there seems to be. But as that evidence mounts, and as it becomes more painful to hear about, the fact we don’t know is perhaps the most troubling fact of all.

    The lawsuit brought Monday by the family of former Chargers safety Paul Oliver drives home a frightening aspect of the effect of head trauma suffered by professional football players.

    Oliver’s family, claiming concussions contributed to Oliver’s suicide a year ago, is suing the NFL, the Chargers, the New Orleans Saints and multiple helmet manufacturers, alleging fraud and negligence and accusing the league of glorifying the "brutality and ferocity" of football in its marketing.

    Following his death, Oliver’s brain was examined by researchers at Boston University. It was discovered Oliver had an advanced form of CTE, the same degenerative brain disease Junior Seau was found to have when his brain was examined after his 2012 suicide.

    The ramifications are particularly distressing in the details of Oliver's downfall.

    It seems we almost always talk about how unexpected a suicide is, and the awfulness is not individual to Oliver’s case.

    But his devolving into someone who would physically abuse his wife and, ultimately, take his life, is almost irreconcilable.

    Oliver, to those who knew him during what was most of five years at Chargers Park, was a mild-mannered, easygoing, polite and well-spoken man. I can easily recall his subtle sense of humor exhibited often in the Chargers locker room and shared those memories with some of his former teammates on the day of his death last September.

    Yet his wife and family came to know a different Oliver during his career and after he was ultimately released following the 2011 season.

    In an upcoming episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Oliver’s widow describes how Oliver would push her, pull her hair and one time dragged her up and down stairs.

    “I was in such a mode of where I was trying to protect my family from this monster that was not my husband,” Chelsea Oliver says in a clip from the show. “. . . I knew it wasn’t him. He’s never been like that.”

    Chelsea Oliver goes on to describe in detail how her husband killed himself in front of her and their two children.
    “This is how miserable I am,” Oliver said before tilting his head, smiling and pulling the trigger of the gun in his hand, she recounted.

    We can’t know what other issues may have contributed to Oliver’s mental state or how he might have been saved. We must be careful of being reactionary without all the facts.

    However, given the details of Seau’s final years and the similar mounting documentation involving other former players, it is not difficult to accept the changes in Oliver’s behavior and even his death as being intricately tied with his CTE.

    As we have unfortunately come to learn in the past few years, CTE has been linked to mood swings, loss of control and violence.

    We have long said that the scariest aspect of the ongoing results of head trauma is that there hasn’t been enough research, that time will bring us more information.

    Oliver’s story is part of that information.

    I think of Eric Weddle and Jacques Cesaire and Jarret Johnson and other players, still relatively young, honorable men who I’d be shocked to ever hear about anything even remotely unsettling in their lives.

    I know these men. I know of their faith and conviction and devotion to family. It seems inconceivable that their retirement would be anything but bliss.

    But you know what, Oliver was an active member of an in-home bible study while a Charger. He was the man described above in the locker room, and then he became the man described above in his home.

    To think his demise will be the last to shock us would be naively stupid.

    I don't know what to do.

    That we don’t know is the scariest part.
     
  8. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Wouldn't the final acceptance of the class action suit already in place release the NFL of any further damage of all future claims? placing the burden of proof back on the plaintiff against the helmet manufactures or individuals involved.
     
  9. powayslugger

    powayslugger Feckless Slappy

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    I have to think that with all the publicity and common knowledge of football, concussions and head trauma that by this time players must KNOW the risks... after all they can't be that stupid can they? As an example it's hard to feel sorry for the sideshow sword swallower when he cuts his throat... he knows the risks and accepts them . Can't that be said about football players too?

    They players whine about the fines, penalties, suspensions and rule changes that were designed to protect them and then they're going lawsuit crazy because they get head injuries. WTF already- you can't have it both ways...
     

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