By Ken Reed
Lawyers representing former NFL players who have filed dementia claims under the NFL concussion settlement, say the league is “muddling the claims process.”
“The NFL seeks to rig the Settlement system. This is part of the League’s DNA,” said Gene Locks, a Philadelphia-based attorney who represents 1,100 players in the case.
NFL representatives strongly disagree with that charge.
“The notion the NFL is throwing sand in the gears and trying to block and obstruct, nothing can be further from the truth,” said a league official who requested anonymity due to not being authorized by the league to discuss the case.
The numbers in the case make it hard to accept the NFL’s position.
Dementia claims represent by far the largest segment of medical diagnoses under the settlement, and only a small percentage have been paid to date. Out of 1,712 claims made in the first year of the settlement, 1,113 cite a diagnosis of neurocognitive impairment. Of those, only six have been paid for a total payout of $4.85 million.
One attorney who specializes in brain injury law isn’t surprised by the way the settlement process has gone to date.
“It’s played out the way I anticipated,” said, Michael Kaplan, who co-authored a brief in 2016 for the Supreme Court on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America outlining potential problems with the NFL settlement.
“These players are beginning to wake up and understand the settlement is a fraud. The majority of players who deserve compensation are not going to get compensation.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.