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Proposed NFL concussion deal: Judge Anita Brody wants changes

NFL concussion deal: Judge Anita Brody seeks changes regarding retired players with CTE

A federal judge wants the NFL and retired players to make several changes to their proposed concussion settlement before granting final approval.

In a three-page order filed Monday in Philadelphia, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody asked that retired players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy between the deal’s preliminary approval last July and eventual final approval be eligible for compensation. The current agreement bars payouts for death with CTE after preliminary approval.

Brody also wants seasons played in NFL Europe credited toward the award matrix that the deal uses to calculate payouts. The judge also asked for accommodations to be made for retired players who lack certain medical records and who can’t afford the fee to appeal a payout decision.

Brody wrote that the suggested changes would improve the deal’s “fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy.”

The NFL and retired players have until Feb. 13 to address the issues Brody raised Monday.

In a statement, Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired players, said he remains confident the deal will receive final approval.

The proposed deal applies to all retired players, regardless of whether they sued. Fewer than 200 retired players -- including nine Pro Football Hall of Famers -- opted out by last October’s deadline.

Brody rejected the deal in January 2014 because of the cap on total payouts to retired players that limited the settlement to $765 million. That cap was removed -- though individual awards remain capped -- and the judge allowed the settlement to proceed in July.

The deal compensates retired players for a range of conditions that include  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Actuaries for the NFL and retired players projected that 3,600 players would receive payouts over the deal’s 65-year life.

Compensation is calculated based on age at diagnosis, seasons in the NFL and other factors.

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