Money for afflicted alumni coming soon?

A new agreement between the NFL and retired players is moving forward to help alumni afflicted with the effects of concussions sustained while playing.

The NFL and the representatives of retired players in the NFL's concussion lawsuit announced Wednesday that a revised settlement that changes the parameters of the suit has been reached and will be presented to the U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody.

Last year, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement with players, but Brody rejected the agreement based on concerns over the ability to cover claims and that not enough former players would be served under the program.

The settlement agreement takes away the ceiling on potential payments so that the fund won't potentially dry up and leave some former players from receiving benefits.

In a statement from NFL Senior Vice President Anastasia Danias, the league reacted to the agreement, saying, "Today's agreement reaffirms the NFL's commitment to provide help to those retired players and their families who are in need, and to do so without delay, expense and emotional cost associated with protracted litigation. We are eager to move forward with the process of court approval and implementation of the settlement."

The revised settlement agreement will be forward to the 4,500 former players involved in the class action suit for approval and will be submitted back to Judge Brody for final approval, which is expected to be completed later this year.

While the new agreement still doesn't hold the NFL accountable for its role as a potential cause of the concussion symptoms players have suffered from later in life, it changes the language that acknowledges that the original agreement could have potentially left some former players with legitimate disability claims out in the cold.

The agreement will be sent to not only the former players who were part of the class action suit, but to all 13,500 living former players. The players can either approve the amended deal, reject it or individually opt out of the program and seek legal remedies themselves.

While critics of the agreement say that it still is not enough to cover the potential cases that will arise over the next several years, most agree is it a step in the right direction and, once approved, money will become available to help those most in need of assistance.


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    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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