NFL agrees to revise concussion settlement

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 25 2014 07:38:22 AM HST
Updated On: Jun 25 2014 09:11:55 AM HST
NFL logo sign outside football stadium

Mike Segar/Reuters

The NFL and former players suing the league for past head trauma announced Wednesday that the previous $765 million settlement was revised and payments to players will be uncapped.

The announcement comes after U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in January questioned whether there would be enough money to cover as many as 20,000 retired players.

A revised settlement agreement filed in federal court in Philadelphia also eliminates a provision that barred anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues.

The settlement is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retired players who develop Lou Gehrig's disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers.

More than 4,500 former players have filed suit. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia.

"This agreement will give retired players and their families immediate help if they suffer from a qualifying neurocognitive illness, and provide peace of mind to those who fear they may develop a condition in the future," plaintiffs' lawyers Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss said in a statement.

Brody will decide later whether to accept the new settlement terms.

"Consistent with the settlement announced last year, the revised agreement provides a wide range of benefits to retired NFL players and their families, including a separate fund to offer all eligible retirees a comprehensive medical exam and follow-up benefits, and an injury compensation fund for retirees who have suffered cognitive impairment, including dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or ALS. Where the retiree is deceased or unable to pursue his claim, a family member may do so on his behalf," the statement said. "While actuarial estimates from both parties supported the $765 million settlement that was announced in August, this new agreement will ensure funds are available to any eligible retired player who develops a compensable injury."

The revised agreement also says the league will set aside $10 million for the education of concussion prevention.

"Today's agreement reaffirms the NFL's commitment to provide help to those retired players and their families who are in need, and to do so without the delay, expense and emotional cost associated with protracted litigation," said Anastasia Danias, an NFL senior vice president. "We are eager to move forward with the process of court approval and implementation of the settlement."

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