Today nearly 4,000 former players are suing the National Football League (NFL) over the link between American football and long-term brain damage. A joint investigation between ESPN's Outside the Lines and PBS FRONTLINE reveals that years before the NFL publicly acknowledged a connection between football and long-term mental disease, the NFL’s disability board was quietly paying more than a million dollars in benefits to several players with brain-related illnesses.
Based on reporting by ESPN reporters Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the year-long effort will examine the latest research on brain injuries and football, the impact on players, and the NFL’s effort to deal with a crisis that threatens the long-term health and popularity of the sport.
The collaboration kicks off Friday, 16 November 2012 with a segment on ESPN’s Outside the Lines (3 p.m. ET, check local listings) focusing on late Hall of Famer, Mike Webster. The former Pittsburgh Steelers center was the first NFL player officially diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or “football brain disease.”
The collaboration includes online companion stories published on November 16 at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.com and PBS.org/FRONTLINE. A podcast with the brother reporting team can be found at http://www.espnfrontrow.com.
Concussion Watch, an extensive website tracking each concussion officially identified by the NFL this season will launch later this month on PBS.org/FRONTLINE. ESPN and FRONTLINE will also invite fans online to help report questionable hits and possible concussions.
ESPN Frontrow Website
Detailed schedule information:
PBS and ESPN Television Stations: check local listings across the United States