The NFL has stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at a younger age than in the general population.
Despite the NFL’s disputes over the years against evidence that its players had a high rate of severe brain damage, the findings were found and prepared by actuaries hired by the league and provided to the United State District Court judge presiding over the settlement between the NFL and 5,000 former players who sued the league, claiming that it had hidden and downplayed the dangers of concussions from them.
The findings are forecasting that the players will develop these long-term cognitive problems at a notably younger age than the general population. The findings also confirm what scientists have said for years: that playing football increases the risk of developing neurological conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that can only be identified in an autopsy.
Due to this research, the league may be pressured to acknowledge the connection between football and brain diseases. However, an NFL spokesman’s lawyer said the findings were inflated due to the fact that they were solely based on medical diagnoses reported by the players who sued the league. He said the findings “do not reflect a prediction of the number of players who will suffer injuries. They are intended to show the court that even if unexpectedly high numbers of players were injured, there still would be sufficient money to pay the claims.”
The actuarial numbers were released by the NFL and representatives of retired players who are suing the league.
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