Newspaper article International New York Times

Agreement Reached on Concussion Suit Details ; Largest Settlements to Go to Retirees Who Played More Seasons in N.F.L

Newspaper article International New York Times

Agreement Reached on Concussion Suit Details ; Largest Settlements to Go to Retirees Who Played More Seasons in N.F.L

Article excerpt

Assuming the judge approves it, the accord on the $760 million settlement could determine how retirees with head trauma are compensated.

The N.F.L. and lawyers for the more than 4,000 former players who said the league hid from them the dangers of repeated hits to the head have agreed on the details of a $760 million settlement that could determine how retirees with head trauma are compensated.

The filing in federal court on Monday is a major step toward resolving a long-running legal battle and may serve as a blueprint for other concussion-related suits.

Assuming the judge in the case gives preliminary approval, the retired players will be notified of the plan's details and have several months to accept or opt out of the settlement. The proposal would allow the N.F.L. to avoid legal liability while providing retired players who have cognitive disorders money and medical treatment without them having to prove that their injuries were caused by concussions received during their pro football careers.

The 85-page settlement includes specifics on how much money, if any, retired players are eligible to receive based on their medical condition, age and number of years in the N.F.L. In effect, years of N.F.L. experience are a proxy for how many hits to the head a retired player might have sustained.

Retirees who played five or more seasons would be eligible for the largest amounts, with lesser payouts available to those with fewer years in the league. Payments would be adjusted based on a retiree's age and other medical history, such as a stroke or head trauma caused by something unrelated to football, like a car accident.

A player younger than 45 with Alzheimer's disease who played more than five years in the league, for example, would be eligible for $3.5 million. A retiree age 50 to 54 with the disease who played five or more years in the league could receive up to $1.6 million. The presumption is that a younger player with Alzheimer's would have been more likely to have contracted the disease because he played football.

A player who was in the league four and a half years would receive 90 percent of the maximum amount, while someone with four years in the league could get 80 percent. …

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