Debate regarding the health effects of concussions on American football players has caused considerable controversy. Concussions and other types of play-related traumatic brain injuries had been proposed as a major cause of player suicides and other symptoms after retirement including memory loss and depression. However, this past week a judge has approved a preliminary hearing for the many professional players that claim they are suffering the effects of concussion related ailments due to their contributions in the NFL. This article found on Startribune sheds some light on where this legal matter stands and if compensation for these permanent effects will likely be given.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia came about two weeks after the NFL agreed to remove a $675 million cap on damages. Brody had previously questioned whether that would be enough money to pay all claims.
“A class action settlement that offers prompt relief is superior to the likely alternative — years of expensive, difficult, and uncertain litigation, with no assurance of recovery, while retired players’ physical and mental conditions continue to deteriorate,” Brody wrote.
More than 4,500 former players have filed suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia.
A federal judge on Monday granted preliminary approval to a landmark deal that would compensate thousands of former NFL players for concussion-related claims.