Former players unhappy with deal
PHILADELPHIA -- The proposed $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims came under attack again Monday, this time from retirees who said they would get "nothing at all" for nagging health problems that limit their function.
Seven former players filed a motion to intervene in the court case pending in Philadelphia, which aims to settle thousands of claims through a grid-like formula that reaches $5 million for younger retirees with Alzheimer’s disease.
The latest objections come from men who can perhaps still work, but say they still suffer from headaches, personality changes, trouble multi-tasking and other side effects they link to concussions suffered while playing in the league.
"The settlement provided no monetary recovery -- nothing at all -- for class members suffering from many of the residual effects most commonly linked to recurrent and repetitive mild traumatic brain injury, while releasing every claim these class members may have against the NFL," lawyer Steven Molo wrote in the court filing.
Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody fears the settlement is too low to cover 20,000 retirees for 65 years, as planned. Lawyers for both the NFL and the lead players’ group hope to convince her otherwise.
"We’re still (working) with the special master and the judge ... to review the settlement agreement and rightfully ensure that all members of the class are protected," said lawyer Sol Weiss, a lawyer for the lead players in the case. "We look forward to finalizing the agreement."
The NFL takes in more than $9 billion in revenue annually, a figure that will rise with new TV contracts this year. The settlement does not include an admission from the NFL that it hid information from players about head injuries.
A few groups of players have asked to intervene in the settlement talks to raise various concerns. The group Monday includes 2008 Pro Bowl player Sean Morey, now a sprint football coach at Princeton University.
The vast majority of the proposed $765 million fund would compensate former players with one of four neurological conditions: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease or advanced dementia. Awards could also reach $4 million for deaths linked posthumously to chronic traumatic encephalopathy. At the low end, an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Retirees without symptoms would get baseline screening and follow-up care if needed.
The agreement also sets aside $75 million for medical exams and $10 million for medical research.
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