The numbers are alarming. According to a new study, three in 10 ex-NFL players will develop “at least moderate neurocognitive problems” as they age. This would qualify 30 percent of former NFL players to receive payments from the $765 million concussion settlement, which was agreed to last August, the Associated Press reports. The data, prepared by the ex-players’ lawyers in the lawsuit, was made public on Friday. Per the AP:
Their actuary expects 14 percent of all former players to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and another 14 percent to develop moderate dementia over the next 65 years, according to the data. There are more than 19,000 former players still living, meaning nearly 6,000 of them will fall into those two groups. Another 31 men will be diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and 24 with Parkinson’s disease during their lives, according to the data.
The study says players between the ages 20 to 60 are at particularly vulnerable, noting that during that span, ex-players are at twice the risk for developing cognitive issues as the general population, the AP writes. Before and after those ages, ex-players’ risks are relatively normal.
The actuary’s estimates, which were prepared for Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, who oversaw the $765 million settlement then later lifted the cap to make a new agreement with no monetary limit, fall in line pretty closely to the 28 percent of former players the NFL had planned to settle with.
Ex-players have until Oct. 14 to opt in or out of the settlement, which continues to suffer from opacity about how the settlement will work.
“We still lack ‘an informed understanding of the dynamics of the settlement discussions and negotiations,’ ” lawyer Thomas Demetrio told the AP. “Indeed, we have zippo understanding.” Demetrio represents the family of Dave Duerson, a former Chicago Bears safety who committed suicide in 2011, which was later attributed to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition that decays the brain that can only be diagnosed after death.