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NFL settles concussion case with players for $765m

ESPN staff
August 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
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The dispute between the NFL and around retired players over concussion-related brain injuries has been settled after months of court-ordered mediation. The NFL has agreed to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research in a settlement worth around $765 million (£490 million).

More than 4,500 former players had sued the NFL, alleging it concealed the risks of long-term brain damage by hiding research into the effects of concussion while at the same time glorifying violent play.

Highlights of Settlement

  • NFL would pay million plus legal costs, but admits no wrongdoing

    Individual awards would be capped at million for players suffering from Alzheimer's disease

    Individual awards would be capped at million for deaths from chronic traumatic encephalopathy

    Individual awards would be capped at million for players suffering from dementia

    Money would go toward medical exams and concussion-related compensation for NFL retirees and their families, and million toward medical research

    Senior US District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia must approve the settlement

Many players with neurological conditions claimed their problems originated with knocks to the head. Independent studies have linked repeated concussions with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease with symptoms including memory loss and mood swings.

According to the settlement, $675 million of the $765 million would be used to compensate former players and families of deceased players who have suffered cognitive injury, including the families of players who committed suicide after suffering from CTE. Other money will be used for baseline medical exams, the cost of which will be capped at $75 million. The NFL also will fund research and education at a cost of $10 million.

One of the principal terms of the settlement is that the agreement "cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs' injuries were caused by football".

"This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players," NFL executive vice-president Jeffrey Pash said. "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."

The plaintiffs include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.

Players' lawyer David Frederick accused the league of concealing studies linking concussions to neurological problems for decades. But the settlement means the NFL will not have to disclose internal files about what it knew, and when, about concussion-linked brain problems

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