Monday, April 18, 2016

NFL No-Cap Concussion Settlement Approved

Just before the start of the 2013 professional football season, thousands of former players settled with the National Football League (NFL) over concussion-related suits. The league agreed to pay for medical benefits and injury compensation to retired players, as well as to fund medical exams, research and to pay litigation expenses. After that first deal was rejected by the trial court, a second deal doing away with a cap on the fund from which injured former players would draw was reached. The lower court, however, kept out a class of players who had argued that they should benefit from the settlement because in the future they may develop the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Failure to compensate players with CTE was the primary objection to the previously approved deal which only compensates for CTE if the player has died. Several players appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The appeals court noted that the research surrounding CTE is still nascent. Currently, CTE can be detected only by an autopsy of the brain, and the families of several former players who died and were found to have the condition stand to receive millions. Those awards apply only to players found before the settlement was approved. Appellate judges in affirming approval of the deal stated,"This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players. It is a testament to the players, researchers and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. Though not perfect, it is fair." At the outset, the district judge had signaled a preference for settlement of the case, believing that the interests of all parties would be best served by a negotiated resolution. The settlement was characterized as avoiding litigating thousands of complex individual claims over many years and providing immediate relief and support. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners claim they wanted to "do the right thing" for former players with neurological conditions who believe their problems stem from on-field concussions. The underlying case accused the league of hiding concussions to protect its image. See more here-- and