NFL Concussion Settlement Likely to be Appealed for Failing CTE Victims

The estate of former Chicago Bears safety,  expressed an intention to appeal the approval of the most recent settlement between the NFL and retired players over the concussion litigation, which looks to pay out almost $1 billion in compensation.

Wednesday’s settlement provides the greatest amount of relief any of the prior settlements have offered, lifting the $765 million cap that once restricted the amount the NFL would pay out.  Under the settlement, players would receive compensation in varying amounts for varying diseases; a diagnosis of ALS would yield the highest amount of $5 million.  Duerson’s estate, and other former players, take issue with the settlement’s failure to address the very real issue of living with CTE.

The settlement provides $4 million to the families of players who died from CTE if the player died prior to the final approval date of the settlement.  The date restriction was imposed so as not to incentivize future suicides by players believing they have CTE.  Contributing to that incentive is the fact that players living with CTE will not be compensated for it.  CTE can only be definitively diagnosed post-mortem.  Thus, there is no sure way of determining when a player has the disease and should receive compensation for it.  UCLA has designed testing that purports to detect signs of CTE, however, it is still not a definitive diagnosis.  Because this technology is in its infancy, there is no way to determine how or when a player should receive compensation for the effects of CTE.  And because of the date restriction, future diagnoses of deceased players will go uncompensated as well.

The children of late pro bowler Dave Duerson intend to appeal, believing their father would have wanted them to continue fighting.  Duerson committed suicide in 2011, leaving a note asking his brain be studied.  Subsequently, he was found to have suffered from CTE.

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