A settlement has finally been reached in a lawsuit between the NFL and injured football players. A judge ruled Thursday that the NFL will have to shell out $765 million to fix the issues with ongoing cognitive injuries sustained during play.
Of the $765 million, $675 million will go to individual players and the families of deceased players who died due to head trauma and resulting complications, ESPN reports. The rest of the money will go toward legal fees, medical exams and research for injury prevention.
“This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” the court-appointed mediator for the case, and former United States District Judge, Layn Phillips said.
A caveat of this settlement is that the agreement “cannot be considered, an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by football.” The NFL stressed during the proceedings that player safety is, and always has been, a top priority for the league.
“This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we’ve made in recent years to make the game safer, and we will continue our work to better the long-term health and well-being of NFL players,” NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash said.
The agreement, however, most likely means that the NFL will not have to turn over documents that might reveal knowledge it had about head trauma linked to long-term cognitive problems. This raises eyebrows, as many were curious to know why the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee had been headed up by a rheumatologist for ten years.
Back in April, the NFL’s Paul Clement asked that the charges be dropped due to arbitration. His main argument was that the health and well being of the payers was the responsibility of their individual teams, not the organization as a whole.
Cognitive injuries have affected at least ten members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including running back Tony Dorsett and quarterback Jim McMahon. The plaintiffs also included the family of linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, which many believe was caused to cognitive injuries sustained during his tenure in the NFL.