The NFL has paid out the first two claims in its concussion settlement, according to a report filed with the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The initial claims totaled $9 million out of the projected billion-dollar settlement. The players to whom the claims were paid were not named.
The payouts included $5 million for a qualifying diagnosis of ALS and $4 million for a qualifying diagnosis of chronic traumatic encepalopathy, or CTE. By the terms of the settlement, this means that both players played at least five years and are at least 45 years old. Also, since CTE can only be diagnosed after death, the $4 million will be paid to the player’s estate.
The NFL’s settlement process opened the door for claims on March 23, with an assessment program to determine eligibility that began on June 6. Players with ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or dementia are eligible under the settlement for payments. As many as 6,000 former players, or up to 30 percent of the league, could develop either some form of Alzheimer’s or dementia, the league has estimated. Nearly 15,000 players, of a total pool of more than 20,000, have registered for possible benefits, according to the AP.
The lead plaintiff in the original class action lawsuit was former Eagles/Patriots running back Kevin Turner, who died in 2016 at the age of 46. The deal, in which the NFL admitted no fault, was approved in 2015 and upheld by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016.
CTE remains a key concern for former players in the NFL. A recent Yahoo Sports investigation broke down many of the truths and myths about CTE, which is likely—judging from the size of these settlements—to dominate headlines in the NFL for years to come.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.