Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Did NFL Players Settle for Too Little in the Concussion Suit with the League?

I too was surprised that the settlement amount worked out to a little over $160,000 per.  With all the talk that the NFL concealed its knowledge of long term concussion ramifications, I suspected a larger award.  A couple of key points making this a "win" for the NFL:
  • The NFL did not have to admit to or disclose when it actually first learned of the long term mental degradations associated with concussions; and 
  • The total settlement amount works out to less than 10% of the league's profit last year.  
...No question about it: the players settled for far too little.
Individual awards will be capped at $5 million for players suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, $4 million for deaths from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and $3 million for those suffering from dementia. The average spread over all the plaintiffs comes to $166,000 per person. That kind of money is a lot to scoff at because treating and managing significant and complex medical conditions can quickly eat away at patients’ and their relatives’ savings accounts.
Consider that the average cost for one year of residence in a nursing home in the United States is about $80,000. For specialized care such as the kind affected former players increasingly require, the costs will likely exceed that. Or consider former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams, who has endured 24 surgeries on his right knee and is in danger of losing the whole leg—a leg ravaged by osteomyelitis and almost three inches shorter than his left one. A payout even anywhere near $166,000 is not going to go that far given his medical and disability needs.
Perhaps the most disturbing reaction of all, though, is that the settlement now closes the controversy about safety and attention can return to the game. ...