WSJ: The National Football League and 4,500 former players suing the league over concussion-related issues reached an agreement on a settlement Thursday. The agreement, which came as a surprise, calls for the league to pay $765 million for medical benefits and injury compensation for the retired players as well as funding for medical research and litigation expenses. The settlement is for all retired players who present medical evidence of severe cognitive impairment, not just the ones in the suit.
The agreement must be approved by Anita Brody, the federal judge in Philadelphia overseeing the case. A person familiar with the matter said the agreement should be approved. Christopher Seeger, a co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said the deal was struck at 2 a.m. Thursday.
NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash, who has spearheaded the case for the league, said commissioner Roger Goodell and every owner gave the legal team the same direction: to “do the right thing” for former players.
The deal calls for baseline medical testing for retired players who are seeking the benefits. If a retired players’ condition worsens, the deal says, he may apply for a supplemental payment. The individual medical cases will be decided by independent doctors appointed by the district court. The deal also doesn’t represent the NFL acknowledging liability for the head injuries.
The retired players don’t have to approve the settlement but anyone can opt out, a league spokesman said.