The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

The NFL CTE Question

Tony Dorsett CTE Hesiman
Tony Dorsett may be the current face of the NFL Settlement CTE question (AP)


Plaintiffs attorneys for the former NFL football players are trying to clear up the question of CTE in regard to the proposed concussion settlement. A recent Sporting News piece addressed the controversial issue with the former players Co-lead Counsel, Chris Seeger.


“Seeger, co-counsel Sol Weiss and the legal team specifically fought to make sure CTE was not used to determine eligibility, he said, because they didn’t want anyone to challenge players to have to prove they have it—and that it was specifically related to concussions, and then only to ones suffered as an NFL player. It was a hurdle the lawyers did not want to subject players to.”


According to the Sporting News piece, the rationale seems to be that:

1. It is still too early to diagnose CTE in living people. The work that is currently being done toward this goal is preliminary and may not have withstood a legal challenge.

2. Diagnosis of CTE is not necessary because suffering from the symptoms of CTE may make a player eligible for compensation.


If you get sick, period, you still get paid. We’re telling everybody to go get tested. You’ll be in the system. You’re protected (by the settlement).
~ Co-lead Class Counsel Chris Seeger 


3. Players won’t have to prove that CTE came from playing in the NFL. Although this of course is one of the main advantages of the settlement, former players do not have to show causation of their injuries, they also don’t have to show it in order to be compensated for the other illnesses (ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia) which are listed on the grid.


If a player thinks he has any symptoms of it, that’s the very reason to stay in the deal. Proving that it’s actually CTE is not necessary.


So moving forward, it will be critical to see if the symptoms of CTE manifest themselves in the diagnoses that the NFL settlement compensates.

In June, concussion plaintiffs lawyers Mike McGlamry and Bruce Hagen hosted a session at Emory University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center that focused on the diseases and testing that is associated with the settlement.



Plaintiffs lawyers host a medical information session at Emory University


The 1 1/2 hour video has a lot of information about the medical issues including the diagnosis of Level 1.5 and Level 2.0 dementia. Without specific diagnoses of ALS, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, the 1.5 and 2.0 levels of dementia may be looked at as a sort of catch-all or predecessor to the more specific named illnesses.



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