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NFL Reaches Proposed Concussion Settlement

The National Football League (NFL) has reached a proposed concussion-related settlement with hundreds of retired players. The proposed settlement of $765 million is to diagnose and compensate potentially hundreds of retired players who may have dementia and other brain conditions. The players blame these disorders on the violent, bone-jarring collisions that pro football has shown and reveled in on highlight reels for a long time.

Since the first lawsuit was filed in 2011 in Philadelphia, over 4,500 former pro football players have sued the NFL. Some of these former players were suffering from Alzheimer’s, depression or dementia that they claim resulted from blows to the head. These former players brought accusations against the NFL of hiding the long-term dangers of concussions and hurrying injured players back into games, while at the same time glorifying and profiting from the violence of pro football.

Covers all former players

The proposed settlement would cover all of the 18,000 former players in the NFL. Most of the proposed $765 million settlement will be to compensate former players who have certain neurological disorders. Of the $765 million, $75 million would be set aside for medical exams and $10 million would go for medical research.

Christopher Seeger, the lead attorney for the NFL, said that there would be a cap of $5 million for former players who have Alzheimer’s and $3 million for those who have dementia. Seeger also said that there would be a cap of $4 million to families of players who were diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition that is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The proposed settlement was announced on Thursday, August 29, 2013. This was after months of mediation that had been ordered by the court. The announcement also came just a few days prior to the first game of the NFL season, which removed a significant financial and legal threat facing the NFL.

NFL admits no wrongdoing

The NFL did not admit to any wrongdoing in the proposed settlement. Instead, the NFL maintained that the safety of its players has always been a primary priority.

In a statement, the executive vice president of the NFL, Jeffrey Push, said, “This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players. We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation.” Push added that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the team owners told the NFL’s attorneys to “do the right thing for the game and for the men who played it.”

Some observers see the proposed settlement as a win for the NFL. This is because the proposed settlement probably means that the NFL will not have to disclose internal files about what it knew, and when, about concussion-linked brain problems.  Observers had also warned that the lawsuits being brought against the NFL by former players may have cost the league over $1 billion if they were permitted to go forward in court.

The proposed settlement still has to be approved. It was announced by Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia who will consider approving it at a later date.