The ex-NFL players will not have to show their injuries were
caused by football, Christopher Seeger, an attorney for the retired
players, said on Tuesday, a day after filing a preliminary motion
for approval of the settlement in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The details of the deal come four months after the NFL agreed to pay
more than $760 million to settle a lawsuit brought by more than
4,500 former players.
The settlement, and the fact it does not require proof that injuries
were sustained from football, avoids a lengthy trial that could have
delved into the league's understanding of the potential toll the
game takes on its players.
Sports business experts at the time of the settlement in late August
said that it was a modest sum for the NFL, believed to generate
total revenue of $9 billion or $10 billion a year.
The settlement includes $675 million to compensate former players
and their families, $75 million to test retired players for
neuropsychological and neurological conditions and $10 million to
fund educational and safety programs for football players, according
to court documents.
Retired players diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease — formally known
as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — will receive up to $5 million
each, Seeger said. Maximum payments for other diagnoses, including
Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, range from $1.5 to $4 million,
according to the agreement.
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"Former players will not need to demonstrate that their
injuries were caused by football in order to receive
compensation or medical benefits, nor will they have to prove a
scientific link between concussions and their disease today,"
The families of players who died in 2006 or later and were
posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a
degenerative brain disease, also will be compensated, he said.
Under the compensation program, which will last for 65 years,
Seeger said players diagnosed with early, or mild to moderate,
dementia will be eligible for compensation of up to $1.5
million. If their condition worsens, he said, they could be
eligible for up to $1.5 million more.
"By fleshing out these programs now our, hope is that retired
players will be able to begin receiving their benefits
immediately after the court grants final approval of this
settlement," expected in late May or early June, he said in a
conference call with reporters.
A growing body of academic research shows the repeated hits to
the head endured by players can lead to chronic traumatic
encephalopathy, which can lead to aggression and dementia.
The research has prompted the NFL to make changes in play,
including banning the most dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits and
requiring teams to keep players who have taken hits to the head
off the field if they show symptoms such as memory gaps or
(Editing by Scott Malone, Andrew Hay and Ken Wills)
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