In autumn of 2013, the National Football League (NFL) settled a lawsuit brought by retired players for $765 million. In the suit, the players allege the NFL had knowledge of the dangers of suffering repetitive concussion and failed to inform players. Now retired, many players suffer conditions including:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
The Boston University (BU) Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center recently released the results of post-mortem studies on two athletes. CTE is a degenerative, progressive brain disorder caused by repetitive trauma to the brain. CTE can underpin diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s disease.
In their studies, BU researchers found a 29-year old soccer player who died of ALS, and a 36-year old major league baseball player who committed suicide, both suffered from Stage Two CTE.
These findings underscore the need to evaluate contact sports at every age. In March, 2014, the NFL announced a $45 million donation to USA Football to fund Heads Up, a national program offering support and education to coaches and families to avoid and treat concussive trauma. In California, the Concussion Coalition also partners with agencies and local sports groups to help children play safe and stay safe.
A federal judge rejected the damage settlement proposed by the NFL in January, 2014. The judge cited concern that the settlement could not appropriately serve the approximately 4,500 disabled players who are parties to the action.