More than 200 former NFL players and families opt out of concussion settlement
Former NFL players concerned that concussion settlement won’t be enough
ESPN reports that court documents filed on Monday show more than 200 former football players or their families have opted out of the proposed settlement for the class action suit of NFL concussion claims. The concussion lawsuit was initially filed by more than 5,000 ex-players against the league.
The claims administrator sent settlement notices to 25,040 players and 8,924 relatives of deceased players, according to court records. According to the claims administrator, 196 former players, 22 relatives of NFL retirees, and two others opted out of the settlement by last month’s deadline. The Associated Press reported that 14 other players tried to opt out, but didn’t file the paperwork quickly enough. According to CBS Sports, a number of former players are concerned that the settlement numbers won’t meet their individual needs.
USA Today reported that among those who opted out of the settlement were representatives of the estate of the late Junior Seau, the former San Diego Chargers linebacker who committed suicide in 2012. Seau had been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease seen in many deceased NFL players. ESPN reported that CTE has been discovered in the brains of at least 76 deceased players since 2005, all posthumously. Also among those opting out were Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe Delamielleure.
The NFL agreed to pay more than $765 million in settlement money to players affected by the lawsuit. The settlement is designed to last at least 65 years and covers retired players who develop Lou Gehrig’s disease, dementia or other neurological problems possibly caused by concussions suffered during their NFL careers.
Concussion Settlement Under Criticism
According to ESPN, some leading brain trauma experts have criticized the plan because it doesn’t address ex-players exhibiting mood swings, aggression and other behavioral problems linked to repetitive brain trauma. It denies compensation for conditions such as memory, concentration, and behavioral problems. In January, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody rejected the original $765 million settlement, stating there might not be sufficient funds to cover payouts and medical tests for the more than 4,500 plaintiffs and others who might want to join the class action. Eliminating the cap clearly swayed her.
The fairness of the settlement will be determined by Judge Brody at a fairness hearing on November 19 in Philadelphia, where she will decide whether or not to approve the tentative settlement. The settlement would provide awards of up to $5 million for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), $3.5 million for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and $3 million for neurocognitive impairment such as dementia. The payouts would be based on a sliding scale based on the age of the player and the type of disease.
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