The Supreme Court Rejects Challenges to the NFL Concussion Settlement

NFL Helmets
The National Football League (NFL) made headlines last year when they announced that they had reached a settlement for the head trauma and injuries players had suffered over the last few years. The class action lawsuit was filed by former players that accused the NFL of covering up what they knew about players’ head injuries and brain diseases, specifically the chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE condition.

About the Case

More than 20,000 retired players were part of the class-action lawsuit. The settlement reached final approval stages by a judge in 2015, however the deal was challenged by another group of players that argued the settlement for injured retirees left out former players that had not been diagnosed yet.

The argument for the case went on to state that the NFL’s executive vice president for health and safety had acknowledged during his congressional testimony that there was a connection between football and CTE. Therefore, they felt that those players not diagnosed yet should receive a renegotiated deal with the court and the NFL.

A federal court of appeals had denied the appeal. They stated that the NFL did not admit wrongdoing in their statement and that the lower court’s decision would be upheld. Now that the challenges are over, all players involved in the class-action suit will receive their compensation.

The settlement pays for all medical costs and other benefits for those players that suffered a head trauma during their career and it may cost the NFL as much as $1 billion over the next 65 years – depending on how much the league pays to each of the 20,000 players listed in the lawsuit.

Players were classified based on their different brain injuries that were directly related to their CTE. The payouts ranged from $1.5 million to as much as $5 million per injury.

What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that is most common in athletes that suffer head trauma during play. Anyone with repetitive brain injuries could suffer from CTE. A person with CTE will have a brain that gradually deteriorates and over time they will lose mass in the brain. Certain areas will become enlarged, while others will atrophy.

Those with CTE can have life-changing repercussions. It will affect them, their loved ones, and the rest of their career. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty controlling behavior
  • Impaired judgement
  • Behavioral problems, including depression and aggression
  • Balance issues
  • Onset of dementia

Berkowitz Hanna will monitor any changes that might occur with this settlement.

Note: Berkowitz Hanna did not represent any of the parties in these lawsuits.

Photo by Kevin Jones via Flickr.com