Former players who are trying to get payment under the terms of the concussion settlement now have another hurdle to overcome: The presiding judge applied a geographic limit to the search for a doctor.
Via the Associated Press, Judge Anita Brody has imposed a 150-mile restriction on the location of a doctor from the player’s home and a 200-mile cap on the effort to find a neurologist. The goal is to keep former players from relying on doctors who may be more inclined to approve a diagnosis that qualifies the former player for benefits.
The opposition to the restriction comes from the basic reality that the program includes provisions aimed at protecting the settlement fund against fraudulent claims. So it shouldn’t matter where a guy’s doctor is located; the player should be able to choose both where to live and where his doctor practices.
The overriding problem with the concussion settlement continues to be, in our view, that the fund has no cap. This creates an obvious incentive for the NFL to fight as many claims as possible. If the NFL had simply paid a lump sum, the NFL wouldn’t care about any of the individual claims. With no cap, the NFL can turn reduced payments into increased profits by fighting back as many claims as possible.