NFL reaches concussion settlement
The NFL and more than 4,500 former players have reached a $765 million settlement in a concussions-related lawsuit on Thursday. The settlement would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, and medical research.
The former players in their suits allege that the NFL knowingly failed to protect players from concussions. According to the Associated Press, the suits allege that long-term effects include depression, dementia, and suicide. Approximately one-third of the league’s 12,000 former players had joined the litigation since 2011. The plaintiffs included at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, the AP notes. Super Bowl winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, were also among the plaintiffs.
Players attorney Christopher Seeger said all retired players will be eligible for a brain assessment program, and they could receive a medical benefit card for further testing and treatment if they have a certain level of impairment. Players who have ALS, Alzheimers or severe dementia will recieve a benefit as high as $5 million, according to Seeger.
The AP reports that lots of former players, who have neurological problems, believe that their problems come from on-field concussions. They accuse the NFL of hiding know risks of concussions for decades so that they could get players back in the game and protect their image.
The NFL has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that safety has always been its top priority.
Kevin Turner, a former NFL fullback who suffers from ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, was glad that the settlement had been reached.
“It’s been a struggle to get to this point, but today … I am very proud that the NFL has decided to stand up for all the former players who are suffering from brain injuries, “Turner told the AP.
Many media outlets have reported that the NFL has 20 years to pay out the settlement, according to the Los Angeles Times. ESPN’s Darren Rovell says that half is to be paid out in the first three years, while the rest will be paid out over the remaining 17 years, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody announced the proposed settlement. She still has to approve it at a later date.