The National Football League has agreed to a $765m settlement deal with thousands of former players who sued the league, accusing it of hiding the dangers of brain injury while profiting from the sport\’s violence.
In an unprecedented agreement Thursday, the NFL agreed to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired players or their families. It also agreed to fund medical and safety research, and cover legal expenses.
More than 4,500 former players sued the league for allegedly hiding the risks of concussions while profiting from the sport\’s violence.
The court-appointed mediator in the case called the agreement "historic." He said it will guarantee that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation receive it, and that it will promote safety for players at all levels of American-style football.
The settlement must be approved by a U.S. district judge who ordered the league and former players to resolve the dispute.
The NFL admitted no liability in the settlement.
Some of the 4,500 plaintiffs in the case claimed to be suffering from dementia, depression or other brain-related injuries. They blame the injuries on the long-term effects of blows to the head during games.
The plaintiffs include Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of former linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
In recent years, the NFL has instituted rule changes designed to eliminate hits to the head and neck, and to protect defenseless players. The league also is working to prevent athletes who have had concussions from playing or practicing until they are fully recovered.