KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Football League reached a settlement for $765 million with retired players who had accused the league of downplaying concussions on Thursday. Many former Chiefs players were part of the lawsuit.
Former Chiefs’ defensive tackle Bill Maas described some of the conditions he deals with on a daily basis as a result of his time in the NFL.
“Blurred vision to light, continual ringing in your ears 24 hours a day, headaches, dizziness,” Maas said. “I know it was giggled upon and laughed at if you got knocked out and you came to the sidelines, and it wasn’t an excuse. You know, you had to get back in,” Maas said.
He’s one of 4,500 retired NFL players involved in the concussions lawsuit against the league, $675 million of $765 million will be used to compensate former players who have suffered cognitive injuries, or their families.
“I’m just glad to see it was recognized that they said, ‘You know what? Somebody probably should have stepped in at some point in time,’” Maas said.
Maas’ former teammate with the Chiefs, defensive back Jayice Pearson, said he’s not satisfied with the settlement.
“Simply, really it’s a PR win for the league itself because on the surface the $765 million tag seems like, ‘Wow! The NFL is really caring about these guys and giving them a bunch of money.’ When in reality, that’s going to be paid out over 20 years,” Pearson said.
Only half the money will be paid out in the next three years, the rest will follow in the latter 17 years. And how much each player receives will depend on their medical condition, age and years played in the league.
“I know there’s money given to those with Alzeheimer’s disease, there’s money being allocated for the families of players who have died from CTE. And there’s also money being allocated for players with dementia,” Pearson said. “What that tells me is, if you’re not in dire straits and a catastrophic situation, that you’re really not going to benefit from any of these funds until you get to that point.”
$10 million of the settlement will go towards research and education–to hopefully curb the number of head injuries suffered on the field.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from it going forward. I’ll be interested to see how football changes from this because you can’t pad that brain, you know? Guys are getting bigger, faster and stronger and those collisions are going to happen,” Maas said.