NFL, retired players agree to changes in proposed concussion deal

NFL, retired players agree to changes sought by judge for proposed concussion deal

Final approval for the proposed concussion deal between the NFL and retired players moved closer Friday, as the parties amended the agreement to include five changes requested by a federal judge.

The nine-page filing in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia makes retired players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after death between the deal’s preliminary approval in July and final approval eligible for a payout of up to $4 million. Their families will have 270 days from the date of death to obtain a diagnosis of CTE, described in the court filing as a “grace period.”

The agreement previously cut off compensation for death with CTE in July.

The revised agreement now partially credits seasons played in the NFL’s various European leagues toward the award matrix used to determine payouts under the settlement. Players will be credited for a half-season if they were active for at least three regular-season games and, as well, spent at least two games on the injured list because of a concussion or head injury.

Additionally, the NFL will pay for baseline examinations for all eligible retired players, regardless of whether the $75 million set aside for them in the agreement is sufficient.

The revisions also include giving the claims administrator authority to waive a $1,000 fee to appeal payout decisions because of hardship and making accommodations for some retired players without necessary medical records.

Judge Anita Brody asked for the changes this month.

The proposed deal applies to all retired players who didn’t opt out, regardless of whether they participated in the long-running litigation against the NFL.

Actuaries for the NFL and retired players project that about 3,600 players will be compensated for conditions that include Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis over the deal’s 65-year life.

While the $765-million cap on the original deal was removed after Brody rejected the agreement last year, caps remain on the individual payouts.

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