News / USA

NFL Agrees to Deal in Concussion Lawsuit

Former NFL player Dorsey Levens, right, extends a hand as Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former NFL player Ray Easterling, reacts during a news conference, April 9, 2013, in Philadelphia, after a hearing to determine whether the NFL faces years of litigation over concussion-related brain injuries.Former NFL player Dorsey Levens, right, extends a hand as Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former NFL player Ray Easterling, reacts during a news conference, April 9, 2013, in Philadelphia, after a hearing to determine whether the NFL faces years of litigation over concussion-related brain injuries.
x
Former NFL player Dorsey Levens, right, extends a hand as Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former NFL player Ray Easterling, reacts during a news conference, April 9, 2013, in Philadelphia, after a hearing to determine whether the NFL faces years of litigation over concussion-related brain injuries.
Former NFL player Dorsey Levens, right, extends a hand as Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former NFL player Ray Easterling, reacts during a news conference, April 9, 2013, in Philadelphia, after a hearing to determine whether the NFL faces years of litigation over concussion-related brain injuries.
Mike Richman
The U.S. National Football League has agreed to a $765 million settlement with thousands of former players who sued the league for negligence involving concussion injuries.

In a landmark deal announced Thursday, the NFL agreed to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired players or their families.  The league also agreed to fund medical and safety research, and cover legal expenses.

More than 4,500 former players had sued the NFL for allegedly hiding the risks of concussions while profiting from the sport's violence.

The court-appointed mediator in the case -- retired federal judge Layn Phillips -- called the agreement "historic."  He said it will promote safety for players at all levels of American-style football.
 
Sol Weiss, the plaintiffs' co-lead lawyer, said the settlement allows the injured players to get the money they deserve.

“What this settlement did today and what this litigation has done since it started was to make America aware of the serious nature of these injuries in sports," Weiss said.  "I think a lot of sports are a lot safer now because of this litigation."

Brain-Related Injuries

Some of the plaintiffs in the case claim to be suffering from dementia, depression or other brain-related injuries.  They blame the injuries on the long-term effects of blows to the head during games.

Dexter Manley is a former NFL player who has had two brain surgeries in the last seven years.  He praised the league's team owners for agreeing to the settlement, which averts a lengthy litigation process.

"I think it’s all about integrity, and the owners have definitely demonstrated they have integrity," Manley said.  "I think it’s good for football because if you kind of keep letting this case go on and on, I think it sort of damages football.  But now it's out of the way.  It’s good for the players, too, who have some issues such as myself.”

The NFL admitted no liability in the settlement.  But Weiss said the case was not about that.  The goal, as he saw it, was to bring to light that players can suffer long-term neurological effects if teams allow them to continue playing before they recover from head injuries.

"Look, a lot of the players understood it’s a violent game, and if you’re going to get your bones broken that’s part of the game," Weiss said.  "They didn’t realize that they were going to become demented, develop early Alzheimer’s, get ALS [Lou Gehrig's disease] or Parkinson’s disease from playing football.  That’s a whole different issue, and that’s what the case focused on.”

The settlement must be approved by U.S. district judge Anita Brody, who ordered the league and former players to resolve the dispute.

In recent years, the NFL has instituted rule changes designed to eliminate hits to the head and neck, and to protect defenseless players.  The league also is working to prevent athletes who have had concussions from playing or practicing until they are fully recovered.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs