The NFL is trying to dodge their responsibility to the players living with brain injury through creating twists and turns to the structure of the settlement and the available payouts. The rules they have created for the application process would be daunting to a person without a brain injury and may be near impossible for the retired player living with memory and other cognitive problems. The rules of eligibility would prevent a person who voluntarily left the sport because of brain injuries from even being eligible. We know that brain injury is a lifetime disability and the costs of care will exceed the average amount of $130,000- $250,000 available to each approved payout participant in the NFL plan. If the lifetime cost of a young male in their 20’s with a severe brain injury is projected to be in the $15 million dollar range, the proposed NFL settlement levels does not even approach the lifetime costs associated with the problems seen in players with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. Specialized care for a person requiring round-the-clock nursing care would consume a settlement in that range within months. Some players have pulled out of the settlement to pursue a legal course against the NFL on their own. The family of Junior Seau has taken on the NFL in a wrongful death claim. As the NFL attempts to push through their settlement plan other retired players and their families are expected to pull away from the settlement and seek more appropriate payment through another course of action.
With Fall in the air and football season upon us, it is important to remember that the sport of football is the genesis of a lot of brain injuries for professional, college, high school and even child athletes. The organization behind the sport which keeps Americans glued to their televisions is not being responsible towards the players who were not informed of risks, given adequate protection and medicated to get back in the game. Do you want to continue to support an organization like the NFL which is artfully dodging its responsibilities to injured players?
Click here to read a story about the NFL settlement in The Atlantic.