The NFL’s $1 billion settlement to compensate thousands of former players suffering negative effects from concussions sustained during their playing careers is close to approval, reports said. U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody gave preliminary approval to the deal pending minor revisions of compensation parameters, according to the BBC.
Brody asked representatives from both sides to reach terms that would provide more expansive coverage for former players. The proposed changes would include coverage for players who played in the NFL Europe developmental league and would allow for payments to cover deaths caused by brain injury. The settlement would provide financial support for approximately 20,000 former NFL players. The judge established a Friday deadline for revisions to the deal. “There were no deal-breakers. There were tweaks,” said lawyer and player representative Craig Mitnick, according to the Associated Press.
The NFL concussion settlement was designed to help cover medical expenses for former players who developed concussion-related illnesses in retirement, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Brody rejected an initial proposal in January 2014 that would have provided $765 million over the next 65 years to affected individuals on the grounds that the settlement failed to adequately provide for potential costs incurred by former players, the New York Times reported.
A subsequent “fairness hearing” conducted last November established players’ reservations regarding the vagueness of the deal’s terms, whether the average payout would sufficiently cover medical expenses and the lack of future payouts for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a widespread, debilitating condition commonly known as CTE -- the current settlement only covers CTE deaths from 2006 to the end of 2015. Brody’s desired revisions of the deal this week did not address these concerns.
“We have been screaming that CTE is the most serious ... injury that will occur to these players over time,” lawyer Thomas Demetrio said earlier this month. “The portion of the brain that controls our mood, our anger, suicidal tendencies -- that’s all gone [from future payouts]. The NFL has gotten rid of it for all time.”