Challenges to the estimated $1 billion plan by the NFL to settle the thousands of concussion lawsuits filed by former player were rejected by the US Supreme Court on Monday.
This decision clears the way for payouts to begin for players diagnosed with brain injuries resulting from repeated concussions.
The $1 billion settlement covers over 20,000 NFL players for the next 65 years. This settlement is especially important given that the league estimates that at least 6,000 former players, almost 3 in 10, could develop neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s or moderate dementia.
Christopher Seeger, a lawyer representing retired players stated “This decision means that, finally, retired NFL players will receive much-needed care and support for the serious neurocognitive injuries they are facing,”
The lawsuits filed by the players accused the NFL of covering up known links between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative disease found in the brains of several former players following their untimely deaths. The deal avoids trials and by virtue of that, the NFL would no longer have to disclose their findings on the risks and treatments of repeated concussions.
The settlement will award up to $5 million for players suffering from ALS; $4 million for precious CTE deaths and finally $3.5 for those Alzheimers. Payouts will average at roughly $190,000.
Critics of this settlement, argue that this agreement does not include future CTE cases, depression, aggression, mood swings, and allows the NFL to admit no fault.
However players’ lawyers believe that the settlement will help families get the financial awards necessary for medical testing, which otherwise could have been delayed for several years had the case gone to trial.
This perspective was mirrored by judge Thomas Ambro who stated “Compensation for players who are coping with these (neurocognitive or neuromuscular) symptoms now is surely preferable to waiting until they die to pay their estates for a CTE diagnosis,”