Ex-Super Bowl champ Leonard Marshall to teach about concussions

Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:47pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - Two-time Super Bowl champion Leonard Marshall is teaming up with the lawyer who first sued the NFL over concussions to form an educational road show on how to avoid and treat head injuries in sports.

The target audience for the Brain Unity Trust is players, coaches and organizations, said Marshall, who suffers from CTE-related illnesses, perhaps from concussions during his 12 seasons as a defensive lineman in the National Football League in the 1980s and '90s.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain often found in athletes who suffered repetitive brain trauma.

"Leonard never had an opportunity to realize that he had an injury, that it was a problem," said Pittsburgh lawyer Jason Luckasevic, who first sued the NFL in 2011 over concussions.

"He was told that that was part of the process. You see stars, you take an Advil and that's it. There's nothing wrong with you."

Marshall, 53, who suffers from mood swings and erratic behavior, recalls the brain-jarring hits he endured during a decade of punishing practices with the New York Giants.

"First thing we did after we stretched in the morning, (coach) Bill Parcells would blow the whistle and he'd line up 14 guys across from each other," said Marshall. "He’d say, 'It's party time, boys. I want to see who’s going to quit first.'"

The object was for the players to batter each other and "and for how long," Marshall said.   Continued...

A football helmet's health warning sticker is pictured between a U.S. flag and the number 55 in Oceanside, California September 14, 2012.     REUTERS/Mike Blake