NFL concussion settlement final as U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal

Sporting News
The NFL released the schedule for the first round of the playoffs before Sunday night's game ended.
The NFL released the schedule for the first round of the playoffs before Sunday night's game ended.

The $1 billion settlement between the NFL and former players who sued the league over the long-term effects of brain injuries is now final after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a final appeal in the case.

The court on Monday denied a request from a group of former players to take up the case. Those 31 men, including Hall of Famer Charles Haley, petitioned the high court in late September because of concerns over payments to ex-players suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Under the terms of the settlement, those diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease before the April 2015 cutoff date can receive up to $4 million in compensation, while newly diagnosed patients moving forward will not receive any payments specific to CTE. The disease currently cannot be officially diagnosed until after a person dies.

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Unlike with CTE, the settlement's terms allow compensation for future development of other neurological ailments like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The bulk of the players involved in the original class-action suits have supported accepting the initial settlement, and many objected to the ongoing appeals because no money has been paid out by the NFL with legal action still ongoing. Monday's final step should start the process of compensating players, who will be paid on a sliding scale based on the extent of their injuries and illnesses tied to football. An estimated 21,000 former players could be in position to receive some payment.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the settlement in April, saying the CTE objectors "risk making the perfect the enemy of the good."

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