NFL, ex-players reach deal in concussion lawsuit

Posted at 11:58 AM, Aug 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-29 13:58:33-04

(CNN) — The National Football League has reached a “historic” settlement with thousands of retired players who accused the league of deliberately concealing the dangers of head trauma, the case’s mediator said Thursday.

The deal calls for the NFL to pay $765 million to fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, medical research for retired NFL players and their families, and litigation expenses, according to a court document filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

The agreement still needs to be approved by the judge assigned to the case, which involved more than 4,500 former players.

“This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” the mediator, former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips, said. “Rather than litigate literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years, the parties have reached an agreement that, if approved, will provide relief and support where it is needed at a time when it is most needed.”

The class-action lawsuit alleged the league didn’t do enough to warn players that they risked permanent brain damage if they played too soon after a concussion. The suit also alleged the league hid evidence about the risks for decades.

Plaintiffs claimed they suffered from neurological problems after sustaining traumatic impacts to the head.

In recent years, the NFL has attempted to strengthen rules that govern player conduct on the field, and added sideline medical staff — unaffiliated with the teams — in an effort to more independently evaluate injured players.

CNN’s Dan Moriarty contributed to this report.

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