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NFL's disability board concluded playing football caused brain injuries, even as officials issued denials for years - ESPN

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"However, board documents obtained by "Outside the Lines" and "Frontline" show that the NFL retirement board determined in 1999 that repeated blows to the head had left Webster, who spent most of his 17-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, "totally and permanently" disabled. The board based its finding on the diagnoses of five doctors, including a Cleveland neurologist hired by the board to examine the player. The doctors described Webster as "childlike" and showing signs of dementia.

"The Retirement Board determined that Mr. Webster's disability arose while he was an Active Player," wrote Sarah E. Gaunt, director of the NFL's retirement plan, in a May 8, 2000 letter to Fitzsimmons. The medical reports, she wrote, "indicate that his disability is the result of head injuries he suffered as a football player with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs."

The board granted "total and permanent" disability benefits to two other players -- one in 1996 -- who claimed their mental impairment stemmed from "repetitive trauma to the head or brain from League football activities," according to documents provided by the NFL board as part of a 2004 lawsuit seeking additional compensation for Webster's family. The board redacted the players' names; the documents were stamped "confidential."

Interviews and documents from additional cases suggest that other retired players also received long-term disability benefits for brain injuries related to football, but ESPN/PBS could not verify those cases."

Isn't this the very definition of negligence?

Yes, which is why they are being sued by 4,000 players. 

Wonder if M. Vick will add his name to the list eventually: 

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