Friday, November 21, 2014

NFL Concussion Settlement Questioned

This week, a hearing took place to consider the deal covering thousands of former players that settled with the National Football League (NFL) over concussion-related suits last summer. The league is reportedly paying $765 million for medical benefits and injury compensation to retired players, as well as funding medical exams, research and litigation expenses. The settlement has been characterized as avoiding litigating literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years and providing immediate relief and support. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners reportedly wanted to "do the right thing" for former players with neurological conditions who believe their problems stem from on-field concussions. The lawsuits accused the league of hiding known risks of concussions for decades to return players to games and protect its image. For the lawyers who negotiated the proposed settlement of the NFL's massive concussion litigation, the agreement was groundbreaking. For the lawyers whose clients objected to the settlement, it fails to compensate players suffering from the "industrial disease of football," and it allows the league to escape any determination of whether the league concealed the effects of head injuries from its players. Now a judge must decide whether the agreement is fair, adequate and reasonable, following a lengthy hearing and request for written briefs before a decision. Defending the deal, NFL and the players' attorneys insisted they wanted to help suffering players now, emphasizing difficulty in litigating causation between blows to the head and brain damage known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in these football concussion cases. See full story here-- and settlement info here--