KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A court ruling may force America's favorite sport to change. A federal judge is slowing down the proposed $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, questioning if there is enough money to cover 20,000 retired players. If the NFL is forced to pay our more money in this settlement, fans could be watching a safer game next season.
U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody denied preliminary approval of the plan on Tuesday because she's worried the money could run out sooner than expected. She also raised concerns that anyone who gets concussion damages from the NFL would be barred from suing the NCAA or other amateur football leagues.
Conrad Dobbler, a former NFL player said he suffers from memory loss as a result of his concussion during his career.
"Maybe it was the 10 years of playing 60 plays a game and 16 to 20 games a year pounding your head every single day and that's not even counting practice," he said.
Dobbler said there's no price to put on a player's life.
"Will the money that they've set aside bring back my memory or whatever I've lost with my memory? Will it stop me from getting ALS? Will it stop me from getting Parkinson's," he said.
The awards would vary based on an ex-player's age and diagnosis. A younger retiree with Lou Gehrig's disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Retirees without symptoms would get baseline screening and follow-up care if needed.
The judge asked for more raw financial data before scheduling a fairness hearing this year, when objectors can question the plan. The objectors could later decide to opt out of it.