The National Football League has agreed to pay $765 million to settle thousands of player lawsuits over head injuries — a deal that both sides declared a win for retired athletes with debilitating brain damage, reports NBC News.
The agreement was reached during court-ordered mediation in late August. It includes $675 million to a compensation fund, $75 million for medical exams and $10 million for a research and education fund.
Former players with severe conditions would be entitled to payouts as high as $5 million. The families of players diagnosed after death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy could collect up to $5 million.
Players can apply for more funds if their condition worsens over time.
Plaintiffs in the case included 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with the families of former ex-Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling and former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, whose suicides brought attention to the issue.
The lawsuits accused the NFL of failing to warn players of health risks, such as brain damage, depression and suicide, associated with repeated concussions. The NFL, which has denied misleading players, will not admit wrongdoing under the agreement.
The fund will remain active for up to 50 years under the agreement terms.
The settlement is a result of cases from 4,500 players, but it will cover anyone who is retired by the time it’s approved by a federal judge in the next few months.
Injury to the brain is a very serious condition, and usually permanent and life altering. Traumatic brain injury can occur from head trauma suffered in car, truck, motorcycle, or boating accidents, or work related injuries, or sports.
Some brain injuries are subtle, especially in children, and can only be diagnosed through cognitive and neuro-psychological testing.
If you or your child has experienced head trauma from an accident, sports game, or otherwise, visit a physician immediately. Contact a brain injury attorney as soon as possible to review your case. You need a legal team that has relationships with doctors, accident reconstruction engineers and other experts needed to prove the cause and severity of the brain injury.