Originally posted on October 9th, 2013 by Seana Stevenson:
Mike Webster, a former Pittsburgh Steeler center suffered several concussions over his career. In 2002 he died after suffering from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain but was never diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurological disorder, caused by constant trauma.
Webster was the first former football player to be diagnosed with this disorder, which in turn allowed for the awareness of concussions in the National Football League.
In July of this year Judge Layn Phillips ordered the NFL to pay 765 million to “fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, and a program of medical research for retired NFL players and their families, as well as to pay certain litigation expenses.” Credit
The NFL came to a agreement with the defendants, which included this gem: [the agreement] “cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by football.” Credit.
‘Settling’ also means the NFL does not need to release any internal documents about their knowledge of brain-related injuries. NFL lawyer Paul Clement even argued that this was the individual teams responsibility to take care of the health and safety of its players. Credit
While the settlement agreement will allow former players to get the help they need and deserve, some see the $765 million dollar settlement as a slap in the face. Especially considering the NFL grosses 9 -10 Billion each year which could double with their new television deal.
The $765 million is estimated to be distributed as follows:
- A capped amount of $75 million for baseline medical exams
- A $675 million fund to compensate ex-players or the families of ex-players who have suffered cognitive injuries
- A $10 million research and education fund
- A capped $4 million fund for the costs of giving notice to all the members of the class
- $2 million to compensate the Settlement Administrator for the next 20 years. Credit
As awareness among athletes in contact sports grows about the long-term health effects of repeated concussions, many are choosing to donate their brains after death for CTE research. The hope is that this research will help change the culture of what are acceptable hits in sports like hockey & football, as well as better medical treatment and more effective protective equipment. It has also started the discussion of how parents, coaches and trainers can better protect the kids who play these sports and suffer concussion at young ages when their brains are still developing.