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Federal Judge Rejects $765 Million Settlement in NFL Concussion Cases Saying Offer is Inadequate

A federal judge in Philadelphia has declined to approve a settlement for another batch of retired players suing the National Football League over concussion-linked claims. According to an Associated Press news report, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody’s preliminary ruling follows a similar ruling in January on the proposed $765 million umbrella settlement. The judge said she is skeptical that the fund is large enough to cover up to 20,000 players for 65 years as intended.

Brody’s latest ruling involves a group of plaintiffs led by Kevin Turner, a former Philadelphia Eagle who is now battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. The judge also denied the Turner group, class-action status. However, an attorney for the players insists the deal is fair and sufficient to cover their needs. The attorney also told the judge that most players would sign the settlement rather than spend many years fighting the NFL in court.

Details of the Settlement

Under the proposed settlement, young players with severe brain injuries would get up to $5 million though most players would get far less. Those without neurological problems would get money for medical screening and follow-up care if needed. The awards would also depend on the player’s age and diagnosis. For example, young men with serious dementia would get $3 million while an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Judge Brody said even if only 10 percent of the players eventually receive a qualifying diagnosis, it is difficult to see how the monetary award fund would have money available over its lifespan to pay all claimants.

Danger of Concussions

Concussions are considered a milder form of traumatic brain injuries. However, recent studies have shown that failing to these head injuries promptly or subjecting a person to repeated concussions (as many football players have been over the years) can result in lifelong disabilities. Dementia has become a serious problem among younger football players, an issue that is forcing the NFL to change its policies with regard to putting injured men back in play. Concussions could also be suffered in slip-trip-and-fall accidents or car accidents. Anyone who has suffered a head injury would be well advised to seek prompt medical attention and treatment. Please do not ignore your injuries.

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