Apr. 25, 2017
If you opted out of the NFL Concussion Settlement, it may not be too late to get back in!
Class Members may still seek to revoke an Opt Out by sending a written revocation request to the Claims Administrator.
Click here to download and print the Opt Out Revocation Request Form. The Claims Administrator will present your request to Co-Lead Class Counsel and the NFL Parties for their consideration. If they consent, they will submit your request to the Court for approval. All Settlement Class Members who the Court deemed to have opted out of the Settlement are listed here.
134 NFL players - and 19 relatives of NFL players - are listed as having opted out of the Settlement. All of these players and relatives have reserved the right to pursue litigation against the NFL over the issue of concussions and I totally respect their decision to reserve that right.
I have spoken to a few of the players that opted out and I was surprised to find that several were not planning on continuing their litigation against the NFL. Their reason for opting out was purely a political statement. They did not like the terms of the Settlement and wanted to show their disapproval by opting out. While it is admirable that some former players took this dramatic step, I would recommend that they re-think their decision.
In my opinion, no one should criticize them for deciding to opt back into the Settlement. There is no guarantee that the Court would approve a player’s request to opt back in, but if they don’t try, they will never know.
Many of the players that chose to opt out of the Settlement were concerned that it would not cover all players that are diagnosed with CTE in a post-mortem autopsy. There were also concerns that some of the mood and behavioral problems that are often associated with symptoms of CTE would not be covered. In some cases, players did not feel that the amount of compensation was adequate.
There were a whole host of reasons why some players opted out, but if some of them are not going to pursue litigation to try and get what they feel they deserve, then I would recommend that they try to opt back in to the Settlement.
They have made their disapproval of the Settlement known to everyone and I respect and admire everything they tried to do to get a better deal. But now the battle is over and I would hate to see some of our brothers make the mistake of thinking that they will never qualify for any of the benefits under the agreement. We don’t know what is going to happen to us in the future and the problem with cognitive impairment is that it usually doesn’t get better with time. It usually gets worse.
One of the key benefits of the Settlement is that even if a player doesn’t currently have a compensable injury, they may still qualify for free treatment and prescription medications to help with the earliest symptoms of cognitive impairment. That alone should give the players that opted out of the Settlement, a reason to reconsider.
New treatments and medications for cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s, ALS are being discovered at a rapid pace and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that scientists and researchers will find a way to slow down and even stop this insidious disease from destroying the lives of thousands of people every year.
I recently participated in the DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project funded by the NIH (National Institute of Health) and overseen by Dr. Robert Stern and the good folks at the Boston Center for the Study of CTE. As a result of this study, we may eventually be able to detect CTE in living people. 120 former NFL players and 60 NCAA football players have volunteered to be part of this study.
Why is this research study important in relation to the Settlement?
The Settlement mandates that the NFL and our attorneys meet once every ten years to discuss in good faith possible modifications to the definitions of Qualifying Diagnoses and/or the protocols for making Qualifying Diagnoses, in light of generally accepted advances in medical science. The NFL is not required to change the agreement in light of new discoveries, but Judge Brody, said “While this is true, the process is subject to judicial oversight, and the NFL Parties stipulated that they will not withhold their consent in bad faith. Counsel for the NFL Parties agreed that “modifications to the settlement” will “in good faith be implemented.”
If they are not implemented, I can assure you that the retired player community will be united in bringing this to the attention of the powers that can influence their decisions – namely Judge Brody and the U.S. Congress.
In closing, I would find it hard to believe that Judge Brody would not allow players to opt back into the Settlement, especially when you consider the possibility that cognitive impairments may have clouded some of the player’s judgement. I’m not trying to say that everyone that opted out was not thinking clearly, but it’s not a far stretch to think that it could have been a factor, or played a role in why some players chose to opt out.
No matter what these former players and their relatives decide to do, all of us need to respect their decision.
One last thing.......If you are a class member, I encourage you to register for Settlement benefits. The deadline for registering is August 7, 2017. You can do it in a matter of minutes by going to this link: NFL Concussion Settlement Website