Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The National Football League and counsel for the retired player plaintiffs announced Wednesday a revised settlement agreement in the NFL concussion litigation.
In the updated agreement, the NFL's obligations under the monetary award fund will not be capped at any specified amount. The previous agreement had a cap of $765 million, but that agreement was rejected by presiding U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody, who in January said she was unsure if the amount of the monetary agreement would be sufficient and encouraged the sides to come to a different settlement.
"This agreement will give retired players and their families immediate help if they suffer from a qualifying neurocognitive illness, and provide peace of mind to those who fear they may develop a condition in the future," said co- lead plaintiffs' counsel Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss. "This settlement guarantees that these benefits will be there if needed, and does so without years of litigation that may have left many retired players without any recourse."
This revised agreement means that once the compensation program is established funds will be available to any retired player who develops a qualifying neurocognitive condition.
"Today's agreement reaffirms the NFL's commitment to provide help to those retired players and their families who are in need, and to do so without the delay, expense and emotional cost associated with protracted litigation. We are eager to move forward with the process of court approval and implementation of the settlement," said NFL Senior Vice President Anastasia Danias.
Consistent with the original settlement announced last year, the revised agreement provides a wide range of benefits to retired NFL players and their families, including a separate fund to offer all eligible retirees a comprehensive medical exam and follow-up benefits, and an injury compensation fund for retirees who have suffered cognitive impairment, including dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or ALS.
Additionally, where the retiree is deceased or unable to pursue his claim, a family member may do so on his behalf. While actuarial estimates from both parties supported the $765 million settlement that was announced in August, this new agreement will ensure funds are available to any eligible retired player who develops a compensable injury.
The agreement also provides that the NFL will set aside $10 million for education on concussion prevention, as well as pay the costs of providing notice to the class and for administration of the settlement.
If the Court grants preliminary approval, retired players will be formally notified of the settlement, with a final approval hearing likely to occur later this year.
More than 4,500 former players, including Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson, filed suit against the NFL. Those plaintiffs believed the NFL knew about the dangers of concussions and for years hid information from those who suffered such injuries during their careers.