Extra Black Former NFL Gamers Eligible for Concussion Payouts

Dozens of Black retired NFL gamers will now be eligible for payouts price a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} from the league’s billion-dollar concussion settlement, reversing earlier selections made due to cognitive exams that used race-based measures to find out whether or not the gamers had dementia.

The choice, included in a standing report filed by the settlement administrator that was entered into the courtroom docket Thursday, got here two years after two former gamers sued the league to finish using race as a criterion in evaluating the gamers’ claims, a course of generally known as “race norming.”

The settlement administrator discovered that 646 gamers who had been examined for dementia however didn’t qualify for money payouts may have their exams routinely rescored with out utilizing race as a criterion.

Of these, 61 have been discovered to have average or extreme dementia and should obtain payouts price $500,000 or extra. The payouts fluctuate primarily based on a participant’s age and the variety of years he was within the league.

One other 246 former gamers have been discovered to have delicate dementia and can obtain extra testing to watch their situations. 1000’s of different gamers have certified for examinations that won’t use race as an element; these gamers may qualify for payouts within the coming months and years.

The outcomes have been the newest chapter within the landmark concussion settlement that has resulted in about $1 billion in claims being paid to gamers with a variety of cognitive and neurological illnesses together with dementia. For years, former gamers and their households have accused the league of constructing it troublesome, if not not possible, to obtain payouts from the settlement, they usually have claimed that the plaintiffs legal professional who represents each participant within the class-action settlement was not doing sufficient to battle for them.

In August 2020, two retired Black gamers, Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport, challenged the seven-year-old settlement and accused the league of “explicitly and intentionally” discriminating in opposition to Black gamers by utilizing separate race-based benchmarks to find out their eligibility for dementia -based payouts, which might be price a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars}.

The league denied that it was attempting to exclude Black gamers however agreed to take away race as a criterion. Christopher Seeger, the legal professional representing your complete class of gamers, apologized for permitting race for use in evaluating dementia claims.

In October, the league and attorneys for the gamers agreed to cease utilizing a participant’s race when attempting to find out his degree of cognitive decline.

David Langfitt, who has represented a whole lot of former NFL gamers within the settlement, mentioned former gamers and their households owe Henry, Davenport and their legal professionals “a debt of gratitude for coming ahead and correcting one thing that was clearly improper.”

“One of the simplest ways to think about the outcomes to date is that they’re a primary step, a down fee on an issue that’s now corrected,” Langfitt added. “Transferring ahead, we count on an ongoing constructive impression on the claims course of, as a result of African American gamers shall be handled the identical because the white gamers with whom they performed.”

In an announcement Friday, Seeger mentioned he was targeted on the rescoring course of “to offer extra retired gamers and their households with essential advantages, improve their entry to info, and guarantee larger fairness and transparency going ahead.”

The NFL didn’t return a request for remark.

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