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The National Football League reached a major settlement in 2015 with former players who sued the league after experiencing head trauma during their football careers that resulted in brain injuries.
The former players accused the league of being aware of the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries but failing to warn and protect players, and ignoring and concealing this information.
The benefits of the settlement include a baseline assessment program to provide neuropsychological and neurological assessment examinations to determine if retired NFL football players are suffering from cognitive impairment and provide additional medical testing, counseling and/or treatment if they are diagnosed with moderate cognitive impairment.
The settlement also provides monetary compensation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and deaths involving chronic traumatic encephalopathy through 65 years old. The settlement designates $10 million in funding to support safety and injury prevention education programs, including safety-related initiatives in youth football.
The settlement class includes living NFL football players who retired before July 2014 and authorized representatives of deceased or legally incapacitated retired NFL football players. The spouses, parents and dependent children of the retired players are also included.
Despite the spotlight on their positions, professional athletes are covered under state workers compensation systems and, like average workers, must contend with legislative proposals to limit the comp benefits they receive.