30% of Former NFL Players Face Dementia

Estimate comes as league works out settlement with players
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2014 3:50 PM CDT
30% of Former NFL Players Face Dementia
Oakland Raiders tight end Scott Simonson, center, loses his helmet and fumbles as he is hit by Detroit Lions defensive back DeJon Gomes in a preseason game.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

About 19,000 former NFL players are still alive, and nearly 6,000 of them can expect to develop Alzheimer's or dementia, according to league estimates. Those figures, released as part of negotiations with players over concussion lawsuits, mean that retired players would be stricken at higher rates than the rest of the population and "at notably younger ages" to boot, reports the New York Times. The league estimates that 28% of ex-players will develop at least moderate dementia, and that dozens more will get Parkinson's or Lou Gehrig's, reports AP.

Not everyone is happy with the proposed monetary pool of $675 million for player awards. The family of Junior Seau, for instance, has opted out of the settlement. The former star linebacker committed suicide and was diagnosed after his death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition. Still, "this report paints a startling picture of how prevalent neurocognitive diseases are among retired NFL players, and underscores why class members should immediately register for this settlement’s benefits,” say the lead lawyers for retired players. (Read more NFL stories.)

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