Timothy Hodgdon, through his brain injury lawyer, has initiated litigation against Washington State University (WSU) and other defendants, alleging he suffered three concussions while practicing and playing football for the WSU team. Former football coach Paul Wulff is also named in the suit. According to the Lewiston Morning Tribune (9/29/13), Wulff was let go by the university in November 2011, and now serves as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers.
Hodgdon’s traumatic brain injury lawsuit alleges that players were made to participate in practices without helmets, on occasion, with full pads and at an intensity ranging from 50 percent to 100 percent. According to the report, Hodgdon had already suffered two medically documented concussions prior to joining the WSU football program, and that trainers and doctors affiliated with the university “knew about [Hodgdon’s] history and allowed him to practice with no helmet on,” according to the lawsuit.
Once an all-state high school football player in much demand, Hodgdon has not only had to abandon his dream of playing in the NFL, but also has been forced to drop out of college entirely due to his illness. He now lives with his mother in California, and works as a bouncer.
Hodgdon’s brain injury lawyer says the 23-year-old suffers from short- and long-term memory loss, severe migraine headaches and nausea, has trouble sleeping, and has an inability to tolerate light and sound, together with an inability to focus. The latter had an impact on his studies, resulting in the loss of his scholarship. He dropped out of WSU in 2011.
Hodgdon’s brain injury lawsuit also names the state of Washington and WSU Athletics as defendants. It was filed in Thurston County Superior Court in late summer.
Meanwhile, a new book looking at the history of concussions in the NFL accuses the league of maintaining a state of denial over growing scientific evidence as to the association of professional football and incidence of concussion and brain trauma.
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The authors, who operated independently of the NFL and studied thousands of pages of documents (conducting more than 200 interviews), noted that the NFL formed a “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee” while continuing to cite research that claimed “NFL players were impervious to brain damage.” The committee, according to the forthcoming book, asserted that concussions were minor injuries that did not lead to long-term brain swelling and brain injury accidents.
In reaching a proposed $765 million brain injury laws settlement with 4,500 retired players in a class-action brain injury lawsuit, the league admitted no fault.