Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Few Retired N.F.L. Players Opt Out of Proposed Concussion Settlement - NYTimes.com

Few Retired N.F.L. Players Opt Out of Proposed Concussion Settlement - NYTimes.com

by Ken Belson

Fewer than one percent of former N.F.L. players opted out of a settlement with the league that is designed to pay players with severe neurological conditions.
By not taking part in the settlement, the players, including Tony Dorsett, Roman Gabriel and Bernie Kosar, have preserved the right to continue suing the league for injuries related to their concussions and head hits. It is unclear, though, how much success such a small group will have compared with the 5,000 former players who filed the lawsuits that led to the current settlement.
With so few players opting out of the settlement, the judge overseeing the case may not feel compelled to force the league and the plaintiffs to make wholesale changes to the agreement, which includes medical monitoring and awards for players with A.L.S., Parkinson’s and other diseases.
According to a court-appointed administrator, a notice was sent to nearly 34,000 players and their dependents, and 220 of them requested that they not be included in the settlement. Players who did not respond were considered to be in favor of the proposed deal.
Joe DeLamielleure was among those players who said they would opt out because the settlement covered only the most debilitating conditions, and not the many less severe ailments that have been connected with repeated head hits, including mood swings, sleep loss and irritability.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the small opposition to the case was a sign that retired players were eager to see the settlement reach a conclusion.
“With over 99 percent participation, it is clear the retired player community resoundingly supports this settlement,” said Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs.
However, no money will be paid until all appeals are exhausted.

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