CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge refused to admit a link between football and degenerative brain disease at the state of the league address on Friday in Toronto.
The CFL is facing a $ 200-million class action lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court in May by former players Korey Banks and Eric Allen. Robyn Wishart is representing the roughly 200 participants.
The suit alleges the league, former commissioner Mark Cohon, a Toronto doctor and clinic withheld information about how repeated concussions can lead to long-term cognitive disorders. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
In contrast, the National Football League admitted to a link between the sport and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in March. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain.
Yeah, there are lawsuits pending, but that is not a position that will serve the commissioner very well, I think.
Bob McKeown, co-host of CBC’s the fifth estate and a former Grey Cup winner with the Ottawa Rough Riders, recently spoke about his experiences with concussions and his plan to donate his brain to medical research.
“If there’s one thing the CFL commissioner should be familiar with, it’s that the medical science is clear about the link between football and degenerative brain disease,” McKeown wrote last week. “Even the NFL now admits it and has agreed to that billion-dollar settlement.
“But for former CFL players suffering from dementia, there is little support from the league: no disability, no long-term care, apparently no attempt to identify victims and define the problem, not even recognition by the league that there is a problem.”