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Ex-Dallas Cowboy Johnston says medical care trumps lawsuits

  • By NFL.com
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On the same evening that a tribute was held for the late Junior Seau, former Dallas Cowboys fullback Daryl "Moose" Johnston spoke about his concern that concussion-related lawsuits should not overshadow what he considers a more pressing issue -- medical care for retired players, according to ESPN Dallas.

The Fox analyst is not a party in any of the lawsuits that have been filed over concussions and has not reported any trouble with concussions following his 11-year career.

"I understand that there are some guys that are in some tough shape right now," said Johnston at a charity dinner of former teammate Emmitt Smith, which also served as a reunion for the 1992 Cowboys' Super Bowl team. "We do need to definitely figure out a way that they're having the quality of life that they deserve. That's the most important thing.

"I don't want that to be lost during the course of this lawsuit, because these are class-action lawsuits based by the guy who did asbestos and based by the guys that did tobacco. They're going to get a lot of money if they win these lawsuits. They have other reasons to be in this. I hope some of them have genuine concern for the players that they're representing."

In light of the suicides of Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, Johnston said it's important to try to diagnose serious medical problems, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease caused by multiple concussions, ahead of time.

Johnston suggested retired players frequently undergo thorough neurological exams. He said he has undergone the exams at Dallas' Center of Brain Health.

"I'm trying to get all the retired guys to get in here, establish a baseline so we can start monitoring," Johnston said. "So, if there is a slip, we can get on it and we can start helping. There's things that you can do right now. We've learned a lot from the (Department of Defense) about these soldiers who have had major traumatic brain injuries and yet have been able to regain tremendous amount of functionality back. I'm talking about massive head injuries. The brain is able to reconnect itself.

"We can't continue to lose guys in their 40s and 50s," Johnston said. "There's warning signs out there. We've got to stay on top of this. We've got to do a better job of taking care of each other. In our communities, when you're around the retired guys, if you see any issues, we've got to have places to get them to. There's got to be more information in our retired community about where to help these guys, where to get them."

Johnston added, "These are the guys who built the game. These are the reasons that these guys are making $20 million per season now. We've got to make sure that they're taken care of."

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