Recent Developments in the NFL Concussion Settlement Give Retired Players a Timeframe to Make a Claim
The second settlement offer put forth by the NFL recently received preliminary approval by a federal judge in Philadelphia. U.S. District Judge Anita Brodyhad previously rejected the first offer from the NFL six months ago. The NFL is now waiting to see how many players will pursue a claim in this class-action settlement. (Philly.com, Judge gives nod to NFL concussion settlement, July 9, 2014)
Concussions have been researched heavily in recent years along with the dangers of consistent head damage found in many rough contact sports like football. The NCAA is creating a set of guidelines for college athletics based on the recent safety and concussion summit. One of their suggestions is to hold at most two contact practices per week to help minimize injuries during the preseason and practices. The intention is to protect these young athletes from lifelong injuries and keep their risk of injury low so they can have a successful career with the NFL and a long healthy life (NCAA suggests contact limits for football practice, The Kansas City Star, 07/07/2014).
“Under the terms that Brody approved Monday, retired players would be compensated on a sliding scale based on age, the number of seasons played, and whether post-career injuries might have contributed to their diagnoses. Maximum awards of $5 million would go to players under 45 who played five or more seasons and require extensive treatment over their lifetimes for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Payouts decreasing on a scale would be provided for older players or those who played fewer seasons and had less serious health issues,” (Judge gives nod to NFL concussion settlement: Philly.com, July 8, 2014).
“This will be a tumultuous time for both the NFL and for retired players,” explains Frank N. Darras, America’s disability insurance lawyer to the pros.“Head injuries are a serious business and no one is taking them lightly. I know many players are torn as to whether or not they will opt out of this class-action settlement. There has been a lot of public concern recently regarding concussions and I am happy the NFL added value to the original deal for their retired players. I am relieved, however, that many more athletes today have invested in quality individual disability insurance policies to provide them with real replacement income if their career ended due to a head injury.”
Disability insurance is an extremely important part of any pro-athletes’ financial portfolio, since it will provide them with benefits to keep them living comfortably if an injury sidelines or ends their career. Football is a contact sport so injuries like concussions are bound to happen whether during practice or while playing an opposing team. A terrific disability insurance policy can be a comfort to many players, knowing their income will be safe with all the risks their job entails. Even though athletes try their best to remain injury-free, sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.
“I highly encourage all current and future pro-football players to talk with their insurance agent or a top disability sports attorney to make sure they are provided with the best disability insurance policy out there. I see too many sports injuries to take disability as a ‘what if’ situation. Get your policies in order now so your head can remain in the game,” says Darras.