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NFL and Ex-players Settle in Concussion Lawsuit

The National Football League has reached a “historic” settlement with retired NFL players over concussion-related brain injuries agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.  The concussion lawsuit claims that retired players experienced head trauma during their NFL football playing careers that resulted in brain injuries, which have caused or may cause them long-term neurological problems. The retired players accused the NFL of being aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries but failing to warn and protect them against the long-term risks, and ignoring and concealing this information from the players.  The NFL has denied all claims alleged in the concussion lawsuit. In August 2013, the parties to the litigation announced that a class action settlement had been reached for $765 million; however, in June, a revised settlement was submitted to the Court which no longer included the $765 million cap.  After several months of continued negotiations, the NFL has agreed to pay all eligible claims for compensation for the 65-year life of the fund. The settlement will consist of a $75 million medical testing program as well as a $10 million educational fund. According to court documents, the NFL has agreed to fund medical exams for all retired NFL players, concussion-related injury awards, medical research, litigation expenses and administrative expenses to establish a settlement claims program. Individual awards have a maximum value of $5 million for those who have or develops ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or another severe cognitive impairment; $4 million for those diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after their deaths; and $3 million for players with dementia. While current players are not eligible, the settlement will include all players that retired (whether they were part of the suit or not) as of July 7, 2014 which is the date the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement. “This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” said former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator said in a recent statement.

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