NFL Concussion Settlement: Details Revealed in Court Filing - Decided
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NFL Concussion Settlement: Details Revealed in Court Filing

The NFL's concussion settlement agreement with former players was released in detail on Monday.

The 356-page agreement was filed in federal court, but the details of the payout have some critics wondering if the settlement will be the final word on this issue, reports ESPN.com. Ex-players who aren't satisfied with the settlement can choose to opt-out and pursue their own trials against the NFL.

What does the concussion settlement promise players and their families?

Payouts Based on Many Factors

Back in August, the National Football League and the ex-players reached a proposed settlement which allocated $765 million from the League. With the final agreement being filed with the court, players now have access to the full text of the agreement -- including the "Monetary Award Grid."

This grid provides how much of the settlement each of the thousands of former players in the class action suit would be entitled to based on:

  • Their age,
  • The presence of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease),
  • Death with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy),
  • The presence of Parkinson's,
  • The presence of Alzheimer's, and
  • Signs of dementia.

Like most large settlements, this one is structured so that the youngest and most brain-damaged (or mentally damaged) ex-players receive the most compensation.

Potential Quandary for Ex-Players

Many ex-players may have expected that each of them would qualify for the $5 million award (the greatest amount available) reserved for players diagnosed with ALS under the age of 45. This large amount is also denied to any player who was eligible for fewer than five full seasons in the NFL.

For example, the family of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, who committed suicide in 2011, would only expect to collect $1.5 million from the settlement, which might be considerably less than they would expect at trial, reports ESPN.com. And that isn't accounting for the one-third cut given to the family's attorneys.

Once the judge approves this settlement, players will have 60 days to decide whether to opt in or out of the settlement, and the NFL reserves the right to cancel the deal before the settlement is finalized.

ESPN.com legal analyst Lester Munson believes there is no "magic number" of players opting-out that will cause this settlement to collapse, but the issue is far from settled.

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