A court filing by class counsel of former NFL players awarded money in the league’s concussion/CTE settlement indicated that medical claims are going unpaid, as the league will argue “virtually anything to evade payments.” While the players say that the league has worked to “rig the Settlement system”, reducing compensation to a “fraction of what was promised”; the league vehemently denies those assertions, noting that an independent 3rd party (BrownGreer) ordered by the courts, determines settlements. While that’s true, of the 1,113 claims filed within 12 months of the settlement date citing a “diagnosis of neurocognitive impairment” (i.e. dementia), just 6 have been paid for a total of $4.85 million.
Howie Long-Short: NFL projections accounted for 430 dementia-related claims to be paid, for $72.3 million, within the first year; but, settlement administrators (not the league) failed to spell out the requisites for filing claims until 10 months after the settlement date. In addition, 60% of the dementia cases filed have been flagged for audit (called a “black hole” by the players’ attorneys); compared to just 17% of other cases. A dual classification system for dementia patients has also complicated matters. Combined, those factors are contributing to the astoundingly low percentage of dementia claims paid relative to the other four diagnosis that are audited. Michael Kaplan, a NY attorney specializing in brain injury law called the settlement “a fraud”, saying “the majority of players who deserve compensation are not going to get compensation.”
Fan Marino: It appears that the 95 cases related to death by CTE, ALS and Parkinson’s disease were handled properly, as claims awarded for those illnesses align with NFL projections. However, if 90% of the case filings are dementia related (as former Patriots CB Ronnie Lippett estimated) and the league is going to fight each of those claims, former players will never see the amount of money they’re rightfully entitled to. The NFL needs to do right by the guys who helped build the league into the behemoth it is today.
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