The upcoming Hollywood version of the NFL concussion story, starring Will Smith, is currently filming in Pittsburgh, PA. The film is based on the 2009 GQ magazine article, Game Brain, by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Game Brain told the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and his discovery of CTE in the brain of Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steeler center Mike Webster. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy is the name of a degenerative neuro-cognitive disease that has been found in the brain tissue of deceased athletes who often suffered concussions and their heads were routinely exposed to violent hits and extreme rotational forces.
Although Roger Goodell has become the face of the NFL’s concussion strategy, most of the allegations in the concussion lawsuits actually occurred while Washington D.C. “anti-trust lawyer” Paul Tagliabue worked for the owners as commissioner of the NFL. In 1989, Tagliabue was chosen by the team owners over Saints executive Jim Finks and former Green Bay Packer Willie Davis to lead the NFL. He held the position until 2007 when Roger Goodell took over. While Tagliabue’s business acumen helped expand the popularity of the NFL to unprecedented levels, it was his legal acumen honed over a 20 year career at Washington D.C. law firm Covington & Burling that served to indemnify the league and add a sophisticated layer of risk management to the multi-billion dollar NFL business.
Much has been written about the settlement to the NFL concussion litigation. The recently released actuarial data however lends considerable insight into more accurately evaluating the quality of the settlement.
Although media stories on the quality settlement have varied widely, according to the report handed into the court, the actual number of players expected to be compensated is rather high. The NFL Concussion Liability Forecast prepared for the plaintiffs by Dr. Thomas Vasquez of the Analysis, Research, Planning Corporation forecasts that nearly 3,600 former players will receive compensation over the life of the settlement. The average amount of their compensation will be $259,000. The amount of compensation that an individual player receives will vary based on the diagnosed illness, the age of the player at the time of diagnosis, and the number of seasons played in the NFL.
2 different reports were filed with the court.
Attorneys for the NFL and attorneys for the concussion plaintiffs recently filed their respective actuarial reports with the court detailing how they arrived at the total compensation package for the settlement. Great, interesting reading with plenty of new, insightful information.
Click below to download pdfs of the reports:
The Segal Group Report on behalf of the NFL
The Vasquez Report on behalf of the Plaintiffs
JFK with brother-in-law, actor Peter Lawford, 1962.
One of the greatest benefits of the NFL concussion litigation is actually outside of the proposed settlement. Since the first concussion case was filed against the NFL in 2011, awareness of brain injuries as a result of sports activities has grown tremendously across many sports at many levels. Discussion of the science of concussions, concussion prevention equipment and techniques and concussion treatment protocols has become commonplace.
“A rising tide lifts all the boats”
~ President John F. Kennedy, 1963 Dedication of Greers Ferry Dam, Heber Springs, Arkansas
NFL Plaintiffs Lawyer Anthony Tarricone
NFL concussion litigation steering committee member Anthony Tarricone penned a recent op-ed for the National Law Journal in which he characterized the proposed settlement as a big win for the former players.
“The benefits in this agreement provide much-needed testing, medical benefits and compensation for those who are sick today and those who may develop an illness in the next 65 years.
Put simply, the settlement guarantees that compensation is available whether a retired player is sick today or develops a neurocognitive illness years into the future.”
Shawn Wooden with Dolphin Cheerleaders (AP)
In a recent op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, former NFL players Kevin Turner and Shawn Wooden discussed various positive attributes of the proposed concussion settlement. One of the interesting points they raised is that participation in the concussion plan’s BAP program may make it easier to qualify for other existing NFLPA neuro-benefit plans.
“Additionally, this settlement leaves intact all other benefits the NFL currently offers former players, such as the 88 Plan, Article 65 neurocognitive benefit or disability. If anything, this agreement will make it easier for us to take advantage of these existing benefits, by providing ironclad medical documentation we can use with benefit administrators.” – former players Kevin Turner and Shawn Wooden