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From The Washington Post


As a quarterback in the NFL, Mark Rypien knew well that he put himself at risk of serious injury every time he stepped on the field. He’d seen players suffer broken bones, muscle tears and sprains.
But if you asked Rypien about concussions during his 11-season playing career — six of which he spent with the Washington Redskins, including a Super Bowl MVP campaign in 1991-92 — Rypien would have struggled.
“I didn’t know what they were,” said Rypien, 49. “I knew what the massive ones were . . . the ones that were very, very traumatic, with head bleeding and where you kind of black out. . . . But the ones you shake off and get back in there, and a little later, you have a little confusion . . . and after the off days, where you think you’re feeling better and you tee it up again — I didn’t know what those were.”


That lack of awareness of the risks he faced simply by shaking his head clear after “getting his bell rung” and the long-term effects Rypien has experienced are the reasons he agreed to become the lead plaintiff in a 126-player class-action lawsuitagainst the NFL.


In the suit, filed March 23, Rypien and fellow players contend that the NFL failed to educate them for decades on the risks associated with suffering repetitive tramatic brain injuries and concussions, and instead ignored and concealed the information. Fourteen other former Redskins are part of the lawsuit.
“Our thing is that we make the game safer. Not change the game, but players are faster and stronger, and if we can do certain things to protect [against] head trauma, why not implement those and put them in place?” Rypien said. “And for those that have received that, in this litigation, why not look into making their quality of life better?”
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