WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for the NFL concussion settlement to go into effect by declining to take up two cases from a smaller subset of former players who challenged the terms of the agreement.
The settlement was reached between the NFL and a class of more than 20,000 retired players.
In legal briefs lawyers for the NFL called the settlement “historic” and said it provides “real, substantial, and immediate benefits to all class members, including an uncapped monetary fund through which any retired player who is diagnosed with a qualifying neurocognitive or neuromuscular impairment or condition can receive a financial award.”
The lawyers said the agreement is expected to fund nearly $1 billion in financial awards to eligible class members.
The settlement applies to all players who retired on or before July 7, 2014. It had been held up by some former players who challenged it terms. But the Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up their appeal and cleared the way for the benefit process to move forward.
“The decision means that , finally, retired NFL players will receive much-needed care and support for the serious neurocognitive injuries they are facing,” said Christopher Seeger, the co-lead counsel for retired players in the concussion-related lawsuits.
“Despite the difficult health situations retired players face today, and that many more will unfortunately face in the future, they can take comfort in the fact that this settlement’s significant and immediate benefits will finally become available to them and last for decades to come,” he said.
Seau’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit To Move Forward
Hall of Famer and San Diego Charger Junior Seau, who killed himself in May 2012 at the age of 43, was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
CTE is believed to be a result of repeated trauma to the head. Ninety of 94 former professional football players who donated their brains for research have been diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s-like neurodegerative disease.
Although the Seau family opted out of the NFL concussion settlement, the Supreme Court decision clears the way for the wrongful death lawsuit they filed in 2013, the family attorney told FOX 5. Their lawsuit alleges the NFL concealed the dangers of football-related head trauma.