Brain Impairment at Younger Age for Tackle Football Players

New Court Documents on NFL Brafile3091346979128in Injuries

Even after the NFL settlement related to concussions and traumatic brain injuries last summer, many former players are still not satisfied.  A current lawsuit accuses the NFL of “hiding information that linked concussions to brain injuries,” according to a recent story from ABC News.  In response to those accusations, the NFL filed documents suggesting that “NFL players are likely to suffer chronic brain injury at a significantly higher rate than the general population,” and “show neurocognitive impairment at a much younger age.”

What kinds of long-term symptoms do tackle football players experience?  According to the article, the following statistics concern rates for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia:

  • Former NFL players between the ages of 50 and 59 develop Alzheimer’s and dementia “at rates 14 to 23 times higher than the general population in the same age range;”
  • Former NFL players between the ages of six and 64 are up to 35 times more likely than the general population to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

In addition to developing these dangerous diseases more frequently than others, NFL players are also more likely to receive diagnoses at an earlier age.

Concussion Settlement and Compensation

Will all these players receive adequate compensation from the concussion settlement?  The court documents anticipate 3,488 former players making almost 6,700 claims for “payments related to brain injuries caused by playing football.”  Of the estimated claims, more than 90 percent are expected for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia.  However, it is likely that a majority of the players are “ineligible for compensation before reaching age 80.”

Referring to the data, the former players question whether the settlement actually provides suitable coverage for sports-related brain injuries.  To be sure, the average player with Parkinson’s will only receive about $320,000, while the average player with Alzheimer’s will only get $340,000.  According to an attorney for the former players, that is “just utter nonsense.”

The NFL’s actuary report suggested even higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s for former players in all age groups.  According to the article, “players younger than 50 were at least eight times more likely to develop those diseases.”

Judge Brody is asking to see documentation about the settlement due to concerns that “not all qualifying players would be paid.”  What are the players hoping to get?  According to the article, players who were in the league for at least 5 years would be eligible for a plan that would pay up to $5 million for players with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), up to $4 million for deaths resulting from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), $3.5 million for Alzheimer’s disease, and up to $3 million for “moderate dementia and other neurocognitive problems.”

While approximately 28 percent of all former players are expected to meet the eligibility requirements to receive this compensation, only about 60 percent of that group are actually likely to seek compensation, given their involvement in other class-action litigation, ABC News reported.

Do you have a loved one who sustained a sport-related concussion or other traumatic brain injury?  It is important to discuss your case with an experienced San Diego brain injury lawyer.  Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Photo Credit: greyerbaby via morgueFile

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