Concussion lawsuits are next big U.S. litigation

And to hear some lawyers tell it, the NFL is the equivalent of Big Tobacco.

The recent wave of lawsuits filed on behalf of retired players uses similar arguments to those made by attorneys representing smokers who sued tobacco companies more than 15 years ago — in this case, that the National Football League knew repeated concussions could lead to brain damage and yet hid the information.

More than 2,400 retired players are now plaintiffs, looking for the kind of success smokers had against the tobacco companies. The result then was a landmark, $206 billion settlement shared among 46 states. But the ex-players face a huge challenge as they take on a multibillion-dollar industry that is the most popular sport in the United States.

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