In what amounts to an about-face, the NFL has dropped its plans to appeal certain dementia diagnoses that were part of a landmark concussion case.
ESPN reports that the league on Wednesday abandoned plans to challenge some diagnoses by settlement-approved doctors. An appeal hearing scheduled for Thursday in federal court was canceled. The NFL had been planning to challenge the diagnoses on the grounds that the standards for diagnosing dementia had not been consistently applied.
Instead, U.S. district judge Anita Brody called for doctors to explain their diagnoses in the challenged cases.
Lawyers representing retired NFL players have accused the league of attempting to delay payments on the previously agreed upon $1 billion settlement, after payouts far exceeded the NFL’s expectations over the first two years.
More than $600 million in claims have already been approved, with $425 million in payouts. League estimates originally assumed it would take a decade for payouts to reach $400 million.
The terms of the settlement allow for retired players to seek compensation for four types of illnesses associated with concussions: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and dementia.
It’s unclear how the NFL’s change in stance will affect the settlement plan moving forward.