Football is a time-honored tradition for millions of households in the United States. The Superbowl alone averages 100 million viewers per year, and with new shows like “Friday Night Tykes,” it’s obvious the tradition is starting younger and younger.
The National Football League made nearly $10 billion dollars last year alone, but at what cost? According to lawsuits filed by 4,500 previous players, all diagnosed with permanent brain trauma, the cost is enormous.
The brain can only take so much before it starts to bruise, swell, and possibly hemorrhage. However, when it’s your job as an NFL player to take hits day in and day out or to be forced to play through a concussion, the damage significantly increases. The result—as was the case for the 4,500 claimants—can be permanent brain damage.
The lawsuits, filed with the assumption that it would take several years and billions of dollars to settle, had a breakthrough late last year. In August 2013, the NFL made a preliminary blanket settlement of $765 million. NFL executives stated they would contribute the money to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for all qualified retired NFL players, to fund medical and safety research, and to cover litigation expenses for the next 65 years.
The offer was then sent to Judge Anita Brody for approval. However, on January 14, 2014, Judge Brody rejected the NFL brain injury settlement on the grounds that $765 million wasn’t enough. She was concerned that there was no documentation to prove the compensation fund would last the full 65 years promised. The case will remain open until a viable settlement can be agreed upon by all parties.
The traumatic brain injury lawyers at Shevlin Smith wish good luck to all the claimants and hope that the final settlement will help not only those already affected but will also provide awareness to help prevent future football related brain injuries.