The Pro Football Concussion Report

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

Whoop, There it is. Concussion Settlement Fixed!

Quincy Carter
For younger former NFL players like Quincy Carter, the proposed settlement can act as a lifetime insurance policy against brain illness. (AP)


I am primarily concerned that not all retired N.F.L. football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid. ~ Judge Anita Brody, January 14, 2014


Well, Judge Anita Brody’s primary concern regarding the original NFL concussion settlement proposal has now been resolved. Yesterday, lawyers representing the 4,500 plaintiffs (and likely soon the “settlement class” of an estimated 20,000 former NFL football players) reached an agreement with the NFL and its counsel and filed a new settlement agreement that erases any cap on total payouts to players with qualifying diagnoses.

Definitely the most criticized aspect of the first proposal was the concern that prior to the year 2080 (the last year of the proposed 65 year settlement), the allocated $685M would run out and players with later compensable claims would have no recourse. Now, currently healthy, asymptomatic players who may be diagnosed 30, 40 and 50 years from now can be confident that the money will be there someday in case they or their families have a valid claim.

As much as the settlement works to help some of the former players who are suffering now, it is probably best viewed as a no-cost, lifetime insurance policy against a diagnosed brain illness. Although thousands of players are seemingly healthy now and asymptomatic, no one knows if and when the toll from years of hitting will take place. According to a 2012 NIOSH research report, NFL players who played at least 5 seasons are three times more likely to die of a neurodegenerative disease than is the general population.  For former players who did in fact play 5 seasons, they would be eligible for maximum benefits, an amount that could be reduced by their age at the time of diagnosis.


settlement diagram seasons

The type of qualifying diagnosis also dictates maximum compensation:

Proposed chart of NFL head injury related illnesses and compensation


Of course, this settlement is the result of a lawsuit, so it’s not perfect, but hopefully this huge improvement in what the NFL is bringing to the table brings the case (and the financial help to suffering players) closer to fruition.

Return to Home