As a football fan and brain injury attorney in Columbia, I paid close attention to the class action lawsuit brought against the NFL by more than 4,500 former players. The lawsuit alleged that the NFL was liable for brain damage sustained by the plaintiffs during their time in the league.
In August 2013, the NFL settled the case for $765 million. On its face, that sounds like an extraordinary amount of money. However, the settlement provides each player only $170,000.00 on average. That figure is significantly lower than the compensation brain injury victims generally receive. Lomas Brown, a retired 18-year NFL veteran, and plaintiff in the class action, stated, “We’re getting blinded by the money. I know that’s a big number…but it’s not life-changing money.”
Brown believes he has sustained at least 50 concussions as an offensive lineman. Those concussions have taken a toll on his memory. Like other players with a history of concussions, Brown also experiences frequent bouts of depression.
Attorneys who represent TBI victims share the belief that the NFL paid a minimal sum in light of the league’s yearly profits and the permanent damage many of the players sustained. In addition, the NFL no longer has to worry about providing medical insurance to the 4,500 players who may need it most. Brain injury lawyer, Michael Kaplen, voiced his concern, saying, “That is a disgraceful amount….The NFL got away dirt cheap.”
Our thoughts go out to the former players who have paid, or will pay, a greater price than many could have ever imagined.
Read more about the settlement below: