As the concussion settlement moves toward preliminary approval by Judge Anita Brody, there appears to be only one potential factor that could derail the deal: If enough retired players choose to “opt out” of the proposed settlement, the settlement will be scuttled.
The proposed settlement expands the pool of plaintiffs from the 4,500-plus former players who sued to all former players. But each former player will have the right to abandon the settlement and pursue his own package of compensation.
For the 4,500 who sued, the chances of an opt out are higher. Under the terms of the deal, only players with “severe” cognitive impairment will receive compensation. For plenty of the plaintiffs, the decision to stay in the settlement entails risk. If they exit the settlement, they may get nothing. If they stay in the settlement, they’ll get nothing unless their impairment is “severe.”