The former NFL players who are line to receive as much as $5 million each in the legal settlement between the NFL and the injured players are being targeted by lenders who advance money on the future settlements at high rates of interest. The players who may suffer from cognitive impairment, memory problems and other issues due to the effects of multiple concussions may not be in the best place to make financial decisions. Lenders in this market target personal injury cases and include: Thrivest, Atlas Legal Fund and RD Legal funding. The loans extended to retired players are likely to be in six figure increments. Many of the players are down on their luck due to the consequences of multiple concussions and regard these loans as a lifeline. The lenders, too, take a risk as players who fail to qualify for the settlement are not obligated to repay the loans. As many as 25% of the settlements may not occur which is a substantial risk for the lenders. That risk is offset by the extremely high rates of interest charged by this lending companies. As Richard Adler, a Seattle-based attorney who represents people with traumatic brain injury points out: “you’re lending to someone who may not have the full legal capacity to understand what they are signing.”
While the pre-settlement loans look like a lifeline to some of the retired players, they may not realize the repayment structure which will erode the settlement’s value and create enormous personal debt for them.