The National Football League today tentatively settled long-standing lawsuits with thousands of former players who claimed their sport exposed them to myriad brain risks.
According to multiple sources, the NFL tentatively has agreed to pay $765 million in settlement money that would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, and medical research. ESPN reported today that $675 million of the total settlement would be used to "compensate former players and families of deceased players who have suffered congnitive injury." Families of players who've committed suicide will receive a seven-figure payout, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys said. While the amount seems steep on first glance, it appears relatively inexpensive considering the growing, terrible list of tragic stories surrounding the league's concussion problem.
As part of the agreement, the settlement "cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that the plaintiffs injuries were caused by football."
The plaintiffs included at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and nearly 300 former Denver Broncos, including linebacker Karl Mecklenburg and offensive lineman Dave Studdard. "This is an extraordinary agreement that will provide immediate care and support to retired players and their families," the lead plaintiffs' attorney, Christopher Seeger, said in a statement. "This agreement will get help quickly to the men who suffered neurological injuries. It will do so faster and at far less cost, both financially and emotionally, than could have ever been accomplished by continuing to litigate."
To learn more about the life of a former NFL player who is dealing with a post-concussion life, read my story about Ted Johnson, a former linebacker who played with the University of Colorado and with the New England Patriots.