Former professional football players are expected to begin receiving payouts within the next three to six months as part of a $1 billion settlement linked to brain injuries suffered during games.
The United States Supreme Court rejected two final challenges to the lawsuit against the National Football League brought on behalf of more than 20,000 former players who have been diagnosed with brain injuries linked to repeated concussions they suffered on the field. Almost every former players will be eligible to receive payments for the next 65 years.
The decision settles a five-year-long class-action lawsuit battle that accused NFL officials of covering up what they knew about the link between professional football and the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Some former players already have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and dementia. Even with the new research linking brain trauma to football, players are still suffering injuries. Earlier this year, the NFL released a report showing the number of concussions diagnosed in 2015 had increased by 32 percent from the previous year.
The settlement was approved by a judge in 2015, but some players objected, saying the the settlement excluded thousands of former players that had yet to be diagnosed with neurological issues and would be denied legal recourse.
Even though the NFL estimated the average payout would be about $190,000 to 6,000 former players, National Public Radio researchers estimated payouts could range from $1.5 million to $5 million each depending upon a player's diagnosis:
- Level 1.5 neurocognitive impairment: $1.5 million
- Level 2 neurocognitive impairment: $3 million
- Parkinson's disease: $3.5 million
- Alzheimer's disease: $3.5 million
- Death with CTE: $4 million
- ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease): $5 million
According to the news outlet, a Level 1.5 neurocognitive impairment is described as early dementia with moderate to severe cognitive decline. Level 2 is described as moderate dementia with severe cognitive decline. The NFL's own actuaries estimate that about 30 percent of players could develop conditions covered in the settlement.
The NFL case is the largest concussion-related settlement so far and especially important given that the league has denied for years the link between the sport and life-changing brain trauma. Athletes are targeting other sports leagues as well. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (N.C.A.A.) reached a settlement with players and the National Hockey League is still fighting its former players who filed a suit similar to the one brought by football players.
If you have been injured or a loved one killed due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.