NFL: US court upholds $1bn concussion settlement as "imperfect but fair"

Joe Hall
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The NFL has admitted repetitive blows to the head sustained in the sport could cause brain disease in later life (Source: Getty)

A US court has upheld the National Football League's $1bn (£699m) concussion settlement with a collection of retired players who suffered brain damage from playing the sport.

Over 5,000 former American football players brought the lawsuit against the NFL but up to 21,000 could be covered by the settlement.

The agreement was described as "imperfect but fair" by judge Thomas Ambro, after around 200 players objected to the deal originally approved a year ago because it did not cover victims of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.

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"It is the nature of a settlement that some will be dissatisfied with the ultimate result, but they risk making the perfect the enemy of the good," said Ambro.

Former or current players not yet diagnosed with CTE - which can only be recognised after death - or other neurological diseases are not covered by the settlement.

The NFL has acknowledged a link between head trauma sustained in the sport, CTE and estimates that 6,000 former players could develop issues such as dementia in later life.

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