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Australian Football Player Receives Payout for Concussions

FILE - Signage is seen outside the Australian Football League (AFL) headquarters in Melbourne, June 29, 2020.

A former football player in Australia has been awarded a landmark $1 million insurance payment for brain damage he says was caused by the concussions he suffered when he was a professional athlete.

Former Australian Football League player Shaun Smith said it was a “fluke” that he had included disablement in his insurance policy 25 years ago.

MLC Insurance found Friday that Smith had a “total and permanent disablement” because of the concussions suffered during his athletic career.

The 51-year-old Smith says he is not able to work and has mental health issues.

He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he is “happy” that the ramifications of receiving concussions “have finally been recognized.”

While Smith's payout paves the way for similar payouts for other athletes, the payments will not be available to them if they did not include disablement in their insurance policies.

Analysts say the MLC finding, however, may lead former athletes to file class action suits.

The U.S. National Football League paid out $1 billion to a group of retired players who said they had suffered brain damage as a result of the concussions they received when they were in the league.