On Thursday, August 29th, the National Football League (NFL) agreed to spend close to $800 million to diagnose and compensate thousands of retired players who developed dementia or other problems due to traumatic brain injury incurred during their time as professional football players.
The settlement is still subject to the approval of a federal judge, but it could settle the controversial personal injury lawsuits filed in Philadelphia in 2011.
More than 4,500 former athletes with traumatic brain injury-related illnesses from Alzheimer’s and dementia to depression and anxiety sued the NFL two years ago, accusing the organization of focusing on profits and concealing the long-term dangers of traumatic brain injury and concussions.
The settlement totals $765 million, and reportedly would cover all 18,000 retired NFL players. The majority of the money would go to compensate athletes who present certain neurological ailments related to traumatic brain injury, but $75 million would be set aside for medical exams, and $10 million for research.
Reportedly, individual payouts in the traumatic brain injury cases would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia.
“This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players,” NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash said in a statement.
One retired player, Kevin Turner, was glad that the settlement was finally reached. His suit alleged that he developed Lou Gehrig’s disease due to traumatic brain injury suffered from repeated, untreated head trauma.
“Chances are … I won’t make it to 50 or 60,” said Turner, now 44. “I have money now to put back for my children to go to college and for a little something to be there financially.”
Another lawsuit was brought forward by the family of Junior Seau, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who committed suicide, allegedly due to depression and physical suffering brought about by untreated traumatic brain injury.
“I think it’s more important that the players have finality, that they’re vindicated, and that as soon as the court approves the settlement, they can begin to get screening, and those that are injured can get their compensation.” said lawyer Sol Weiss of Philadelphia, who filed the first lawsuit on behalf of former Atlanta Falcons defensive back Ray Easterling and a few others. Easterling later committed suicide.
The NFL said that, under the terms of the settlement, all former professional players are eligible to seek care, screening, or compensation. Amount of financial compensation will be based on age, condition, and years in play.
The Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to an automobile accident or a defective product, it is not too late to get help. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer free consultations to discuss the incident that led to traumatic brain injury and determine if you have a personal injury case. Contact us today. 803.252.4800.