The concussion settlement that received preliminary approval on Monday provides benefits only in the event that a former player currently suffers from or eventually develops one of a handful of severe cognitive impairments: early Dementia, moderate Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, and/or death with Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.
The settlement as preliminarily approved provides no benefits for living players who have CTE but none of the other conditions. Even if/when a test is developed for reliably diagnosing CTE in the brains of living patients, the living retirees from the NFL will get nothing until they die.
When they die, their estates will be eligible to receive up to $4 million, based on factors that will increase or decrease the award, such as years of NFL service. But any living player with CTE but without early Dementia, moderate Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, or ALS gets nothing during his lifetime.
It’s an odd loophole that hopefully will be exposed and explored as the settlement process moves forward. If an otherwise asymptomatic former player with CTE should get compensation after he dies, why should he be barred from benefits if he can prove that he has it while he’s alive?
Whether CTE can be diagnosed prior to death is still unclear. At some point over the 65 years of the settlement fund, it could become very clear. Former players determined to have it should be eligible for something before they die.