Bob Fitzsimmons Featured on ESPN's Outside the Lines
Bob Fitzsimmons appeared on ESPN's Outside the Lines on November 16, 2012, in relation to a story concerning the NFL's knowledge that football-related head injuries cause permanent brain damage and disability.
Bob represented Mike Webster and filed a disability claim with the NFL's Pension Board and was awarded total disability for Mike Webster in October of 1999. The Board acknowledged that the award of total disability was based upon football-related head trauma, which was supported by four physicians Fitzsimmons employed to render opinions concerning Iron Mike's condition. The ESPN piece was part of a joint investigation looking into when the NFL knew that repeated head trauma could cause permanent brain damage. The NFL did not acknowledge the relationship between repeated head trauma and football-related activities and permanent brain damage until 2009, ten years after the Pension Board made their finding in the Webster case.
In Webster's pension case, the Board refused to make a finding that the permanent disability existed at the time of Mike Webster's retirement in 1991 and this issue was then litigated in a lawsuit against the Pension Board. The District Court in Baltimore, Maryland, ruled in favor of Webster finding that the disability did exist at the time he retired from football in 1991. The NFL appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the NFL lost that appeal.
Bob Fitzsimmons is now a Co-Director of the Brain Injury Research Institute at NorthShore University Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, together with his other Co-Directors, Julian Bailes, M.D.; Bennet Omalu, M.D.; and Jennifer Hammers, D.O. Garrett Webster, son of Mike Webster, is the Brain Injury Research Institute's Administrator.
For more information of this story, check out the following links:
Outside the Lines Preview Clip
Steve Fainaru Talkback
Lester Munson Talkback