A federal judge has denied a motion for preliminary approval of a $765 million concussion settlement between the NFL and thousands of retired players. Fearing that the proposed settlement won't be enough to cover players in the years to come, Judge Anita Brody has asked lawyers on both sides to show their work and reveal how they reached the figure. "Even if only 10 percent of retired NFL football players eventually receive a qualifying diagnosis, it is still difficult to see how the monetary award fund would have the funds available over its lifespan to pay all claimants at these significant award levels," said the judge.
The proposed settlement would provide up to $5 million to each player suffering from cognitive disorders; individual awards would be based on a variety of factors including age, severity of brain trauma, and total seasons played for the NFL. This settlement structure is intended to cover nearly 20,000 players for a period of 65 years. But since surviving family members and representatives of players' estates may also prove eligible, Baker expressed concern that the pool of money may not be sufficient. "I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis for their related claimants will be paid." The setback doesn't spell doom for the deal — which was reached after months of negotiations — but the judge will need some convincing that the settlement will hold up before signing off on it.