A federal judge Monday said the National Football League’s $765 million settlement with players over concussions should be expanded to cover some claims of the 5,000 additional players who have sued the league, Bloomberg reported. U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, who requested the changes one day after Super Bowl XLIX, sided with dozens of former players and their families who said the deal wasn’t good enough..
In a written order outlining her suggestions for changes in the settlement, Brody said the settlement should pay the families of players who died from degenerative brain disease and provide credit for seasons played in the NFL’s European league. The changes “would enhance the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy” of the settlement, Brody said. She also imposed a Feb. 13 deadline for negotiations between lawyers for the NFL and the players union.
“The judge did not reject the settlement,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Bloomberg. “The judge asked both sides to address several issues before she grants final approval.”
In the original batch of lawsuits brought by the players, the NFL was accused of negligence in failing to inform players of their risk for long-term brain injuries. More than 99 percent of retired players covered by the settlement had approved it, but Brody rejected a $675 million version of the settlement in January 2014, calling it insufficient to cover the 65-year term of the agreement. Under the settlement, families of players who died from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease, would have received $4 million each. The league estimated it would have to pay out no more than $900 million, Bloomberg reported.
Many retirees with symptoms of CTE are not diagnosed until after their deaths. The disease has been linked to the suicides of such retired players as Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau and Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson. The symptoms mimic Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.