The National Football League will pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by more than 4,500 former players over the league’s once lackadaisical approach to concussions and head injuries. The settlement in the much-publicized suit was announced on Aug. 29.
Despite a massive payout that nearly equals the cost of building a new football stadium, the New York Times called the settlement a victory for the NFL. The Times reported that the NFL could have faced billions in liability.
Under the terms of the settlement, the league does not admit a key allegation put forth by the players – that the NFL knowingly concealed from its athletes the extent of danger posed by repeated head injuries. The league has steadfastly denied this, saying it relied on the best available science at each step.
The settlement money will fund medical exams for the retired players, medical research and compensation for those affected.
No Sworn Testimony
Perhaps most importantly, the settlement will keep the players and the public in the dark about exactly what the league knew, and when, about brain injuries. Had the case continued without a settlement, the discovery process would have revealed previously unknown details. The case would likely have seen depositions from league officials and league doctors addressing the issue under oath.
The players in the suit include at least 10 Hall of Famers suffering from the long-term effects of repeated concussions and head traumas. Also included in the suit are family members of some players who have died of causes that may be linked to brain injuries, including Junior Seau, the star linebacker who took his own life in 2012. It was revealed that he suffered from a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Also found in other deceased football players, this condition can lead to depression, aggression, serious cognitive impairment and dementia.
Increased Attention on Brain Injuries
If something good results from this, it is that the NFL and the public no longer shrug head injuries off as simply “part of the game.” The more time goes by, the more we understand the potentially devastating impact repeated head trauma can have. We don’t just see it in the NFL. We see it in other activities from soccer to winter sports, and even in youth leagues.
The Brain Injury Law Center is a law firm devoted to seeking legal justice for those who are suffering from serious brain injuries. We lecture on the subject nationwide, and our founder, Stephen Smith, has more than 40 years of experience with these kinds of cases.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact us today. All consultations are free and without obligation.