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Former Panthers’ Safety Suing Insurer After Career-Ending Concussion

Mention the name Haruki Nakamura among the Panthers fan base and one play sticks out.

Week 4, 2012: After Carolina took a late, 4-point lead in Atlanta, Nakamura — the Panthers' free safety — somehow let Falcons' wideout Roddy White get behind him for a 59-yard reception. Two completions later, Matt Bryant's 40-yard field goal dropped the Panthers to 1-3.

Now Nakamura hopes a play from the following preseason sets a new precedent for players who were forced to leave the NFL because of severe head trauma.

Embed from Getty Images

According to The New York Times, Nakamura on Monday filed a suit against Lloyd's of London, claiming the insurer should honor a $1 million policy he took out during his playing days. Nakamura is reportedly seeking $3 million to account for damages, costs, interest and lawyer fees.

A week after Nakamura suffered a concussion in the Panthers' 2013 preseason finale, the team released him with an injury settlement. After his struggles the previous season in Carolina, Nakamura wasn't a shoe-in to land elsewhere, but the effects of his concussion — severe headaches, blurry vision, fatigue and mood swings — cost him any shot of getting another job.

While Lloyd's denied Nakamura's claim, even the NFL, which has been mired in concussion-related lawsuits, admitted Nakamura wasn't healthy enough to continue playing.

In his suit, Nakamura said Lloyd's made it "virtually impossible" to collect his claim, and a doctor hired by the insurer labeled the concussion "minor."

Because it wasn't a broken bone or torn ligament, former players like Nakamura have had difficulty proving head trauma ended their careers. If he wins his suit, players could find a new layer of protection — unless insurers then decide to leave concussions out of coverage.

h/t @NCSUalum

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  • Flex On My Ex

    Good luck with that, boss.

  • Jason Alston

    Just turrble. Give that man his money. He took that policy out fair and square.