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Players’ Attorneys Ask Appeals Court to Reject NFL Settlement Over CTE


Attorneys appealing the $1 billion settlement between the National Football League (NFL) and former professional players over concussion-linked injuries asked the appeals court Thursday to reject the settlement because it excludes chronic traumatic encephalitis (CTE).

CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people who have received repetitive brain trauma, including concussions, that can currently only be confirmed as a diagnosis post mortem. It is the subject of the upcoming film, “Concussion,” starring Will Smith as Bennett Omalu, M.D., the pathologist who is credited with discovering the link between repeated concussions in professional football players and CTE.

In September, researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University announced they had identified CTE in the brains of 96 percent of former NFL players they had examined.

On August 20, 2015, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) submitted an amicus brief to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the National Football League (NFL) concussion litigation before the court. The brief explains the science of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and highlights misconceptions inherent and relied upon by the District Court when it approved the settlement agreement.

In the brief, which was written and submitted by BIAA board member Shana De Caro, Esq., and Michael V. Kaplen, Esq., Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School, the authors wrote that, “The settlement neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players suffering long-term consequences of brain trauma, but merely rewards certain, small, discrete groups.” This supports arguments made by players’ attorneys today.

While the BIAA brief did not specifically address issues unique to CTE, the authors noted that organization does not believe that players who will be diagnosed with this condition are properly provided for in the settlement.

The complete text of the brief, as well as documents filed by BIAA with the district court, are on the BIAA website at

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