January 7, 2014 in Sports

Details of concussion settlement unveiled

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Lawyers representing former NFL players in the proposed $765 million settlement of thousands of concussion-related claims detailed Monday how the money would be divided.

The awards could reach $5 million for those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease; $4 million for a death from brain trauma; and $3 million for dementia cases.

Under the payout formula, those maximum awards would go to players under 45, who would likely need more lifetime care. For a man in his early 60s, the awards top out at $3 million for ALS and $950,000 for Alzheimer’s disease. An 80-year-old with early dementia would receive $25,000.

Individual awards would also reflect how long the player spent in the NFL, unrelated medical issues and other factors. For instance, the award could be reduced significantly if someone had injuries from an unrelated stroke or car accident. Men without any neurological problems would get baseline testing, and could seek compensation if tests reveal any problems.

“This is an extraordinary settlement for retired NFL players and their families – from those who suffer with severe neurocognitive illnesses today, to those who are currently healthy but fear they may develop symptoms decades into the future,” lead players’ lawyers Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss said in a statement.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody of Philadelphia must still approve the plan, and is expected to hold a fairness hearing later this year. Individual players can also opt out or object to the settlement, which followed five months of what a mediator called “vigorous” negotiations between the players and NFL.

“We, of course, support plaintiffs’ motions, and will await further direction from Judge Brody,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Players taking part will be encouraged to share their medical records with researchers studying brain injuries in football.

The plaintiffs include class representative Kevin Turner, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots and is now battling ALS.

“The compensation provided in this settlement will lift a heavy (financial) burden off of the men who are suffering,” he said.

Turner said he hopes it will ensure future players “do not suffer the way that many in my generation have.”

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