Mediation Up Next for Former NFL Players Shut Out of Settlement
Thursday, January, 2, 2020
The family of Mike “Iron Mike” Webster could be about to receive money from the NFL to compensate them for Webster’s injuries incurred during play. Webster was the first NFL player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head from his time in the game. He died in 2002 at the age of 50. The resolution would come as the result of a court-ordered mediation. Webster, a Pittsburgh Steelers center, was the inspiration the 2015 film “Concussion” starring Will Smith.
The mediator, appointed by a Philadelphia federal judge, is supposed to work with approximately 70 families including the Websters to help them resolve their claims that the NFL cut them out of the $2 billion concussion settlement. The NFL had previously refused to pay families of players who died prior to 2006.
According to sources close to the situation, the appointment of the mediator could mean the NFL is “eager to pay families” in an effort to avoid a long, drawn-out court battle that could ultimately cost them more. The move to mediate comes just as a court-appointed special master was about to rule on whether the families should have been included in the settlement.
According to an attorney who defended against the concussion claims, “Based on how things generally go in civil litigation, when a federal judge sanctions a mediator, it looks like there is a path to resolution.”
Webster’s case opened the flood gates for many similar diagnoses allegations by players and their families that the NFL had worked to conceal the risks of repeated head hits.
Webster’s family stated they are happy to try mediation because it increases the odds of resolving the matter quickly and getting justice for Mike.