PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal judge today granted preliminary approval to a landmark deal that would compensate thousands of former NFL players for concussion-related claims.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody came about two weeks after the NFL agreed to remove a $675 million cap on damages. Judge Brody had previously questioned whether that would be enough money to pay all claims.
“This is an extraordinary settlement for retired NFL players and their families — from those who suffer with neuro-cognitive illnesses today, to those who are currently healthy but fear they may develop symptoms decades into the future,” plaintiffs’ attorneys Sol Weiss and Christopher Seeger said in a statement.
The settlement is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retirees who develop Lou Gehrig’s disease and other neurological problems.
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.