Oct 20, 2021 - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Detail view of Wilson NFL footballs bearing the New England Patriots logo.

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.

  • The agreement comes after months of closed-door negotiations between the league and retired players.
  • If approved, hundreds of Black retirees will have the opportunity to have their tests rescored and potentially qualify for compensation of $500,000 or more, according to AP.
  • About 2,000 men have applied for dementia awards, but only 30% have been approved.

What they're saying: "No race norms or race demographic estimates — whether Black or white — shall be used in the settlement program going forward," the settlement said, per AP.

  • "If the new process eliminates race-norming and more people qualify, that's great," Ken Jenkins, an NFL retiree, told AP.
  • "[But] we're not going to get everything we wanted," he added. "We want full transparency of all the demographic information from the NFL — who’s applied, who’s been paid."
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