Ex-Carolina Panther Stephen Davis Files Concussion Lawsuit Against NFL

According to Nathan Fenno of the Washington Times, former NFL running back Stephen Davis joined four unnamed ex-players in a lawsuit against the NFL for concealing the long-term effects of concussions.

The 38-year-old Davis, who played 11 NFL seasons with the Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams, says he's been suffering from short-term memory lapses over the last year and a half. The three-time Pro Bowler is unable to remember spending time with his children, paying bills and even conversations with his wife, DeeDee, from just minutes before, Fenno reported.

A visit to the neurologist three months ago raised some concern.

"Looking at the results, and they're not that good," Davis said. "I need to get special treatment, further treatment to try and get it taken care of … A lot of things scare me a whole lot, and it bothers me because there isn't no telling what day I'll forget everything." 

Davis, who last played in 2006, is unable to recall how many concussions he sustained throughout his career. However, he insisted that the coaches, doctors and trainers were negligent in their treatment of concussed players and were only concerned about getting players back on the field.

“The coaches and doctors try to get you back on the field regardless of if you’re hurt or not hurt or have a concussion,” Davis said. “It’s more about getting you back on the field than making sure you’re OK.

“If you could put your hand on your nose, you were good to go back in.”

Davis, once fast, strong and nimble, is now a shell of his former self.

The man who once rushed for 17 touchdowns in one season now has trouble getting out of bed in the morning. He can't lift his arms over his head or stand for long periods of time. He has excruciating headaches, ringing in his ears, blurred vision and can't tolerate sunlight. For Davis, even a simple drive to the supermarket is a strenuous task.

Davis' story isn't an unusual one. According to the Washington Times, Davis is one of 2,653 former players (102 total lawsuits) accusing the NFL of ignoring evidence linking concussions to brain disease and dementia. However, the league denies these allegations, maintaining that player safety has long been a top priority.

While Davis acknowledges that the NFL has made significant progress in recent years, he doesn’t want the older players to be forgotten.

“I just want to be fair,” Davis said. “Football is a contact sport. We all know that. It has its consequences. But the thing is that we were put in situations where if you’re not on the field, you won’t make this team.”

Despite the devastating fallout from his football career, Davis has no problem with his 14-year old son playing the game.

“I will tell him the cons and pros of it. Everything he sees,” Davis said. “I sit him down every day and say, ‘These are the things that can possibly happen to you.’ “

Stephen Davis’ History with the Panthers:

Davis played for the Panthers for three seasons from 2003-2005.

In his first season in Carolina, Davis made the Pro Bowl and was an integral part of the team’s run to Super Bowl XXXVIII. Davis rushed for a career-high 1,444 yards and eight touchdowns. He also finished third in the MVP voting that year.

In 2004, Davis suffered a season-ending knee injury in week two and was forced to miss the final 14 games of the season. Bothered by several nagging injuries, Davis was never able to get back to full strength after that.

The Panthers released him in March of 2006.

After spending the 2006 season as a backup with the St. Louis Rams, Davis  – a Spartanburg, South Carolina, native – returned home and signed a one-day contract with Carolina on February 27, 2008. The next day, Davis officially retired as a Panther on February 28, 2008.

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