$1bn Compensation Plan For Concussed NFL Players Approved

Former American Football Players To Receive Compensation For Head Injuries


A plan to compensate former American football players with head injuries, which could cost the NFL $1bn (£655m) over a period of 65 years, has been approved by a federal judge.

The compensation plan is the result of years of complaints that the NFL hid the risks of repeated concussions from players so they would return to the field more quickly.

As many as 6,000 of the league's 20,000 retired players are expected to suffer from Alzheimer's or moderate dementia in the future. Under the settlement, they would receive an average of $190,000.

For former players diagnosed with Parkinson's or Lou Gherig's disease, and for families of players who have died from chronic brain trauma, payouts could reach from $1m to $5m.

However, the deal also means that the NFL does not have to disclose what it knew about the risks of concussions, and when it learned any such information.

Around 200 NFL retirees and their families have rejected the settlement over claims that it does not cover a broad enough range of conditions and circumstances, and plan to sue the league independently.

Expert Opinion
"The issue of concussion in sport is one which continues to raise discussion and debate across the world, including here in the UK in terms of recent high-profile incidents in both football and rugby.

"The announcement of this plan is a very welcome step forward for all of those former American football players who have gone on to develop very serious, long-term conditions after they have retired from the sport.

"However, it is also important that this issue is carefully examined to ensure that everything possible is being done to put the safety and welfare of players first. In addition, it is vital that any protocols introduced in sport to tackle this issue are not just introduced at the highest level, but also filtered down to more grassroots levels."
Stephen Nye, Partner