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NFL to pay $765M to retired players alleging concussion-related injuries

NFL to pay $765M to retired players alleging concussion-related injuries

The National Football League said Thursday that it will pay a $765 million settlement to more than 4,500 retired players who say they've suffered concussion-related brain injuries connected with their careers.

The settlement still must be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia, the NFL said in a statement. If approved, the money will be used to cover medical benefits, injury compensation, and medical and safety research for thousands of former players who brought claims against the league.

The NFL said it also will cover legal fees for the players in addition to the settlement.

The settlement “does not represent, and cannot be considered, an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs' injuries were caused by football,” according to the proposed settlement posted Thursday on the league's website.

The settlement followed Judge Brody's order last month that the league and the players resolve their dispute in mediation.

“This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” former U.S. District Court Judge Layn Phillips said in the statement released by the NFL.

Judge Phillips served as the mediator in the NFL concussion litigation.

Former NFL players alleged the league misled them about the dangers of concussions. In court filings, the athletes said they suffer from various neurological and cognitive problems related to head injuries they received while playing football for the league.

The NFL established a wellness initiative last year that it said will provide mental health support and other assistance for current and former NFL players. The program includes NFL Life Line, a 24/7 service that allows players to connect with mental health professionals by phone or online.

The program's establishment followed the death of former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Easterling, a lead plaintiff in one of the concussion lawsuits who committed suicide in April 2012.

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