by Charles S. Mombo
Judge Layn Phillips, a former United States District court judge and an appointed mediator in the lawsuits brought by more than 4,500 retired football players against the National Football League and others, announced that the parties had reached an agreement that would end the litigation against the NFL (National Football League) and NFL Properties and provide medical and other benefits, as well as compensation, to qualifying injured players or their families.
Judge Anita B. Brody of the United States District Court approved the agreement. Brody presides over these types of cases in the federal court in Philadelphia.
In the settlement, the NFL and former players who say it hid the dangers of concussion reached a $765m settlement. The NFL would pay the sum to fund concussion-related compensation, medical exams and research. Judge Brody announced the deal after months of court-ordered mediation.
More than 4,500 former players had sued the league, alleging it concealed the risks of long-term brain damage.
- Baseline medical exams costs capped at $75m
- A total of $675m for injury compensation, with individual awards caps at $4m for deaths from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, $3m for players suffering from dementia and $5m for players with Alzheimer's disease.
- $10m towards medical research
- 50% of payment for injuries in the next three years with the remaining payout over 17 years
The class action accused the NFL of hiding research that had shown the harmful effects of concussions, while glorifying and promoting violent play.
Many former players with neurological conditions believe their problems stem from knocks to the head.
Helmet-to-helmet impacts are common in American football as strong, heavy and fast-moving players collide on the field of play.
Studies have linked repeated concussions with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease with symptoms including memory loss and mood swings.
In the statement issued by NFL Executive Vice-President Jeffrey Pash, he said:
"This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players," "We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation."
As part of the settlement, the NFL will neither admit liability nor that the players' injuries were caused by football and will likely not have to disclose internal files that could show what it knew about concussion-linked brain problems and when.
Despite the settlement, the name of a major player that helped to exposed the NFL wrongs was not mentioned. Dr. Bennet Omalu, a champion for the players, put his profession and money on the line in what appeared to be a “David versus Goliath” fight against a financial giant.
Who is Dr. Bennet Omalu?
In my previous article, entitled, “Dr. Bennet Omalu – For the past 10 yrs., why did the NFL tried to discredit this brilliant Nigerian-born doctor?”:
As far as I'm concerned, Dr. Bennet Omalu, M.D., MBA, MPH, CPE, DABP-AP, CP, FP, NP, a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist, is a genius. Omalu, 44-year-old, was born in a Biafran village during the Nigerian civil war. Despite enormous challenges while growing up in the village, Omalu‘s fascination of the brain led him to the U.S for school and subsequent landing him an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology in the Department of Pathology at University of California, Davis and the Chief Medical Examiner for San Joaquin County, California.
At age 32 in 2002, Omalu became a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI).
The BIRI is a center for the study of traumatic brain injuries and prevention with a brain and tissue bank.
According to BIRI.com, Dr. Omalu was the first doctor to discovered physical evidence of concussions and the disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in activities other than boxing. Omalu was also able to identify chronic brain damage as a factor in the deaths of some National Football League players. He discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brain of Pro Football Hall of Fame player Mike Webster in 2002. Omalu also participated in former NFL player Junior Seau's autopsy; it was reported, after Seau's suicide in 2012.
NFL Tried to Discredit Omalu, ‘That Damn African.’
Although Omalu is no match for the National Football League (NFL) with its $9-plus billion in annual revenues, he pissed the league up by writing couple of articles, the last one was entitled, "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a National Football League Player: Part II". Omalu sent his article to Neurosurgery, the prestigious peer-reviewed journal. Despite the NFL's threats and request for the first article to be retracted, Neurosurgery went ahead with Part II.
Despite Dr. Omalu outstanding articles, the NFL said his work was “preposterous," “flawed,” "It's not appropriate science," and "purely speculative." It’s no secret, for over 10 years, the NFL has been trying to discredit and destroy Omalu’s career. Despite the NFL’s attacks, Omalu’s research has since been vindicated many times over, with each new discovery of the crippling neurodegenerative disease in a dead football player.
According to a 2009 GQ magazine article, the NFL repeatedly dismissed Omalu before sending an independent expert to examine his work in 2008. The expert, Peter Davies, who is a well-respected Neuropathologist initially was skeptical until he saw Omalu's slides, which contained the brain tissue of deceased football players. "The credit must go to Bennet Omalu," Davies told the magazine. "Because he first reported this and nobody believed him, nobody in the field, and I'm included in that. I did not think there was anything there. But when I looked at the stuff, he was absolutely right. I was wrong to be skeptical."
According to the magazine, the NFL's declined to make Davies' report public and never spoke to Omalu again.
Dr. Bennet Omalu in his own words!