The NFL and more than 4,500 former players have agreed in principle to $765 million settlement that will help found medical exams, concussion-related expenses and medical research to resolve concussion-related lawsuits, a federal judge said Thursday, according to ESPN. One of the conditions of the agreement is that the settlement is not an admission of guilt or liability by the NFL, or that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by football.
According to ESPN:
According to the settlement, $675 million of the $765 million would be used to compensate former players and families of deceased players who have suffered cognitive injury. Other money will be used for baseline medical exams, the cost of which will be capped at $75 million. The NFL will also fund research and education at a cost of $10 million.
Individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer's disease; $4 million for those diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after their deaths; and $3 million for players with dementia.
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The settlement will include all players, their authorized representatives or family members if a player is deceased, who have retired as of the date on which the court gives preliminary approval of the settlement. Any of the approximately 18,000 former NFL players are eligible.
The plaintiffs include 10 current members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, and the late Jim McMahon and Junior Seau. Seau, a former Pro Bowl linebacker, committed suicide last year,
"This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football," said former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator for the dispute in a statement.
The NFL has denied any wrongdoing, asserting that players safety has always been a top priority.
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"This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players," said NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash in the statement. "Commissioner Goodell and every owner gave the legal team the same direction: do the right thing for the game and for the men who played it." Pash added that the league favored spending money on helping former players over further litigation.