U.S. District Judge Anita Brody has approved a settlement agreement between the National Football League (NFL) and a class of thousands of former players that sued the league over the risks and treatment of concussions. The terms could see the NFL paying out over $1 billion to players over a term of 65 years.
According to Al Jazeera America, the average player involved in the lawsuit will see roughly $190,000. The payout for players diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease or ALS in their 30’s and 40’s could reach $5 million. The agreement also includes $10 million that will go to an education fund to promote safety and injury prevention among football players of all ages.
While the lawsuit has been a game-changer (literally) at all levels in terms of concussion awareness, diagnosis, and treatment, the agreed to deal arising from the suit means that the league will never have to discuss what it new about the risks and dangers of concussions and when. More pointedly, the league will never have to admit to any guilt or wrongdoing. Players involved in the lawsuit accused the league of hiding the dangers associated with concussions.
Some players expressed relief after the settlement agreement was announced. Shawn Wooden, a former safety said the agreement represents “peace of mind,” as players won’t have to wonder whether or not they will be taken care of as they age. But payments to players won’t be distributed until appeals are heard, which could take years, leaving some that desperately need care for serious health problems with nothing in the short term.
The NFL appears to have scored a victory in this one—the league’s annual revenue stands at about $10 billion…for those keeping scores, that’s 10 times what players are likely to see over the course of 65 years.