The Truth Behind Those Helmets – Assisting Retired NFL Players in Navigating the Concussion Settlement Process

Employment Blog - 1_7_19

More than likely, many average NFL fans that follow their favorite team or player on any given weekend have heard the following words: “great hit”, “pancaked,” “ran over,” or “leveled,” just to name a few. However, what truly happens to your favorite players, once those “glory days” have passed?

In 2011, 73 ex-NFL players filed a class action suit against the NFL, which alleged that the NFL concealed the dangers of concussions for decades.  The original suit alleged that the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions but concealed them from coaches, trainers, players and the public until 2010.

It was only in 2010, that the NFL started warning active players of the risks associated with multiple concussions. That case settled in 2013 for $765 million.

However, the federal judge overseeing that case was concerned that the amount would not be enough to provide the now 20,000 ex-NFL players covered under the suit.

In 2015, Senior U.S. District Judge Brody approved a plan to resolve the lawsuit at a cost of $1 billion paid out by the NFL over 65 years to the members of the class.  In order to be eligible as a class member, a player’s last season had to occur prior to the 2014 season, and that player had to “opt-in” by July 7, 2017, in order to qualify for a potential claims package under the settlement.

In order to determine any future monetary award, each class member must suffer from “neurocognitive impairment.”  Moreover, each class member is subject to two assessments, a baseline neuropsychological and neurological assessment to determine their level of impairment.

Depending on the level of impairment, the number of active years in the NFL, each class member is assessed a qualifying diagnosis, which either entitles him to a claims package or not.

Shutts is actively assisting numerous retired NFL players through this process. Under the direction of the managing partner of the Fort Lauderdale office, Joseph Goldstein, we are fortunate to have attorney James Paul, a former collegiate football player and sports agent for the last eighteen years with the National Football League Players Association, handling the legal needs of some of the finest athletes that have played in the NFL.

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