For years, many former professional football players struggled with a constellation of neurological and mental health symptoms of unknown etiology. Many players believed that their symptoms were the result of their days on the gridiron, but clear explanations were rarely forthcoming.
More recently, the base of evidence has grown to indicate that repeated blows to the head, especially those involving concussions, can cause severe neurological impairments and a condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). While symptoms may be mild at first, retired players may ultimately be plagued by Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and severe dementia as a result of their playing days. CTE is also associated with extreme depression and even suicide.
As a result of their debilitating conditions, more than 5,000 former players sued the National Football League (NFL) for failing to warn them of the dangers of repeated concussions, and even concealing those dangers. These lawsuits were ultimately consolidated into a class action lawsuit, which also alleged that the NFL knew or should have known of the risks associated with frequent blows to the head.
In April 2015, a settlement of potentially $1 billion was reached between the parties and approved by a federal judge. Under the terms of the settlement, players will be paid varying amounts of money as compensation for their head-related injuries. The amount of money former players will be paid depends on several factors, including their diagnosis, current age, and years in the league. The settlement will also pay for ongoing medical exams for former players. The maximum payout to a player under the agreement is $5 million.
After the settlement was approved, a handful of players appealed to a federal appeals court in Philadelphia. These players believe that the settlement does not sufficiently cover future cases of CTE, including the mental health conditions associated with the disease. At the current time, CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously.
While the appeal is pending, former players who agreed to the settlement will not be paid any compensation, even though over 99% of former players agreed to its terms. If the appeals court affirms the settlement, it will remain in effect for 65 years in order to compensate former players who develop symptoms in the future.
Recently, it was reported that Frank Gifford, a Hall of Fame quarterback for the New York Giants, was diagnosed with CTE after his death. Gifford played his entire career with the Giants and was known to have suffered multiple concussions, including one head trauma that knocked him unconscious and caused him to miss the entire 1964 season. According to Gifford’s family, the retired quarterback suffered from CTE-related cognitive and behavioral changes in the years before his death. Besides Gifford, other retired players who have been diagnosed with CTE after their death include Hall of Famer Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers and Dave Duerson, who won a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears in 1986. Seau and Duerson both committed suicide.
Are You a Former NFL Player?
The personal injury lawyers at Moll Law Group understand that the proposed NFL concussion settlement is confusing, and former players have many questions. We are here to answer those questions. For a long time, the NFL has risked your long-term health to make huge profits. You deserved better than that when you took the field as a player, and our lawyers are here to maximize your share of the settlement, since payouts vary depending on your meeting specific medical criteria. It may be difficult for you to determine if any physical or mental symptoms you are currently experiencing are related to your playing days. You shouldn’t wait to find an answer to that question. Err on the side of caution and contact one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation. Our phone number is (312) 462-1700.
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