A U.S judge today rejected a $765 million settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players on grounds that the total sum may not be enough to pay all affected players.
The deal proposed would have seen up to $5 million set aside for each former player diagnosed with a certain brain condition developed as a result of their professional playing career.
However, with 4,500 former players already signed up to the law suit, U.S District Judge Anita Brody warned that the deal as it stands may not be enough to fund future claims.
Brody, who believes up to 20,000 former players could ultimately be eligible for payment, wrote in papers filed in Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon:
" I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football Ppayers who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis, or their related claimants, will be paid.
Even if only 10 percent of retired NFL football players eventually receive a qualifying diagnosis, it is difficult to see how the monetary award fund would have the funds available over its lifespan to pay all claimants all these significant award levels."
The law suit was originally filed in 2012 as the issue of concussion gained widespread attention.
Several players, including Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, and Jovan Blecher, have committed suicide in recent years.
While none of those deaths have been directly connected to football, academic research has shown that repeated hits to the head can lean to a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy - a condition which can lead to aggression and dementia.
It is now up to NFL officials to convince the judge that they have the appropriate systems in place to pay for the retired player's claims