NFL concussion settlement closer to approval

    The more than 4,500 former football players involved in a class-action suit against the National Football League over lingering effects of concussion may have a new settlement by summer.

    In January, federal Judge Anita Brody of Philadelphia rejected a settlement agreement between the NFL and its players over her concerns that the nearly $756 million proposed would not be enough to cover all  athletes who may have brain injuries.

    At the time, Brody requested more fiscal documentation.

    Andrew Brandt, a sports business analyst for ESPN and director of Villanova University’s sports law program said a resolution could be forthcoming now that those files are in.

    “It’s been submitted to a special master that’s been brought in by Judge Brody to specifically handle this issue, to go through the actuarial tables, to go through the documentation, to go through the economists’ documentation,” Brandt said, “and figure out is there enough money to last for potentially 60 years of claims by former football players.”

    Brandt says much of the initial concern was focused on the $75 million set aside for medical testing.

    “That’s something they should make sure that that money is going to be there for some player to walk in in 2050 and say, ‘I want to be monitored,'” said Brandt.

    That may be the case for players like Garry Cobb, a former Eagles linebacker who has yet to develop symptoms. Cobb is one of many retired football players to previously sue the league. He also recently announced he would be running for a South Jersey congressional seat.

    Brandt said both sides believe final approval of the settlement is on track for the summer and — with luck — the first payouts could be sent a few months later.

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