As you may have heard, the lawsuits filed by more than 4,500 former professional football players against the National Football League settled for a reported $765 million late last month. In July, a Philadelphia federal judge ordered the parties to attend mediation in effort to settle the lawsuits over concussion-related brain injuries.
The retired players — many of whom suffer from dementia, depression or brain damage — argued that league officials knew that the players were at risk of suffering brain injuries while playing the sport but failed to warn or protect the players. The NFL, on the other hand, argued that the issue fell under the players’ collective bargaining agreements and should have been handled outside of the court system.
Ultimately, the parties reached a tentative agreement Aug. 29 in which the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to compensate brain injury victims, pay for medical treatment and fund medical research on brain injuries in the sport.
Reportedly, individual damage awards will be capped based on the type of injuries suffered. Awards for plaintiffs with Alzheimer’s disease will be capped at $5 million; awards for families of players diagnosed after their deaths with a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy will be capped at $4 million; and awards for players with dementia will be capped at $3 million.
In addition to the retired players who are already part of the lawsuits, the entire group of 18,000 retired NFL players will also be eligible for awards.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the NFL likely will be able to keep private documents stating how much officials knew about concussion-related brain injuries and when they knew it.
The Philadelphia federal judge will have to approve the settlement before it becomes official.
Source: Associated Press, “NFL, ex-players agree to $765M settlement in concussions suit,” Aug. 29, 2013