The NFL and its former players have moved one step closer to helping those suffering from the long-term effects of concussions, receiving approval from a federal judge who had rejected a previous settlement proposal last January.
On Monday, one week after the NFL agreed to lift a cap on payouts to retirees, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved a preliminary settlement between the league and its former players.
The approximately 18,000 former players can now vote on whether to accept or reject the settlement, which will provide compensation for those suffering from specific neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and ALS.
To be eligible for benefits, a player must receive a formal diagnosis from an approved network of physicians.
The amount of compensation awarded to each player will be dependent on age, number of seasons played and the type of impairment.
Brody had rejected the previous settlement in January of $765 million due to concerns that the proposed settlement, providing a fixed $675 million in funding, would be insufficient for the 65-year lifespan of the deal.
By lifting the cap on money available, in addition to other changes, including allowing players to still sue the NCAA, high school and youth football organizations, and new measures to prevent false claims, Brody agreed to move forward.
Some former players, including Alan Faneca and Robert Royal have already expressed their dissatisfaction, claiming that the new settlement fails to help those who played in the now-defunct NFL Europe because they are not credited for those seasons played.
The new settlement does not help those who are currently suffering the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE — only those who have died.
Former players have also accused lawyers of failing to demonstrate how they reached a settlement with the league and that there is no way to know if its a fair deal because there was no discovery.
“The Revised Settlement is a great deal — for the NFL and Class Counsel,” said the filing, which was obtained by the New York Times. “It is a lousy deal for the retired players, whose rights have been bargained away without adequate or independent representation.”