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NFL, retired players reach settlement on concussion lawsuits

Concussions are a major point in player safety in the National Football League. (Photo by the Washington Post) The National Football League and 4,500 retired players settled a lawsuit regarding concussions. (Getty Images)

The National Football League and more than 4,500 retired players and their family members reached a proposed $765 million settlement of concussion-related lawsuits, a district court announced Thursday.

The players filed the lawsuit against the league claiming the NFL hid known concussion risks, leading to high rates of dementia, depression and even suicides.

The plaintiffs included at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year. According to terms of the settlement, the NFL does not admit liability or that injuries were caused by football.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody was set to rule on the case in July, but ordered the two sides to try to negotiate and report back to her by Sept. 3.

As a result, the NFL will pay $765 million "to fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, and a program of medical research'' for the 4,500 plaintiffs in the case.

“This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” Former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator, said in a statement. “Rather than litigate literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years, the parties have reached an agreement that, if approved, will provide relief and support where it is needed at a time when it is most needed. I am deeply grateful to Judge Brody for appointing me as mediator and offering me the opportunity to work on such an important and interesting matter.”

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