With the NFL earning a seemingly endless supply of criticisms over its treatment of concussions and the effects of professional football post retirement, the league has finally seemed to take a step in the right direction, as the NFL is set to finalize a $1 billion settlement to pay former players.
The settlement, despite being aimed towards providing much-needed care to former employees of one of the world's most profitable corporations, has been deemed insufficient, according to Mary-Claire Dale of the Associated Press.
Several notable concerns regarding the finalization of the deal include displeasure with the amount of money paid to former players, the conditions for families receiving aid being too murky and no future payouts for sufferers of CTE - chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The league is set to provide retired or former players who suffer with dementia a payout of $190,000. This figure, however, has been deemed too low to care for an Alzheimers's patient, as the AARP estimates a memory-care facility costs nearly $110,000 a year while the less invasive assisted-living option could potentially cost a family $84,000 annually in out of pocket costs. Of the league's nearly 20,000 former employees, sources estimate only 6,000 - or 28 percent - of those who receive baseline-testing will qualify for an award.
If the settlement concludes this year, the NFL is set to provide nearly $4 million to each family who dealt with a CTE-related death between the years of 2006-2015. No plans are in place to provide assistance to future sufferers of CTE, as to not "incentivize" suicide.
CTE is a progressive degenerative disease which occurs in individuals with a history of concussions and is only diagnosable postmortem. CTE has been cited as the "signature" concussion related problem in the NFL, even though no testing exists to diagnose the disease in a living person (although they hope to have this within 10 years) and the significance of the disease isn't fully grasped. Junior Seau and Jovan Belcher, each of whom committed high-profile suicides (the latter committed a murder as well) was found to have CTE in their respective autopsies. Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame center for the Steelers was the first NFL player diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2002. In fact, the presence of CTE development in former players might be much higher than the league anticipated, as a 2014 study conducted by the Department of Veteran's Affairs found 76 or 79 brains of former NFL players were found to have CTE. When they tested football players at the high school, college and NFL level, 108 brains out of 126 were found to exhibit the disease.
As the league makes movie to improve the post-football life of many of their former employees, the $1 billion settlement actually looks a lot smaller when it's broken down, which isn't a good look for the NFL.