An important aspect of the NFL Concussion Settlement is how long one played in the league. For those who are diagnosed with a compensable condition (dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or ALS) and played for 5 or more “Eligible Seasons,” they will receive full compensation for you age and diagnosis. If you have fewer Eligible Seasons, there will be a reduction in your award.
It’s also important to understand the Eligible Season requirement because you must have a minimum of a Half of an Eligible Season to qualify for baseline testing, or the BAP. If you don’t have at least a half of a season, you will not be eligible to go through the testing protocol but you may still qualify for settlement benefits (at a greatly reduced rate).
In some cases, eligibility will be difficult to prove, as the administrator is relying on data from NFL.com. If you were active, dressed and on the sideline for a game, but didn’t get in, for example, you have no stats and therefore it will not be on NFL.com. If you were on the practice squad or IR (for a head related injury), it will not show on NFL.com. In those cases, we will have to be resourceful and provide pay stubs, tax returns, contracts, programs or whatever else we can find that will establish that you were, in fact, on the team.
Finally, it’s important to remember that an Eligible Season doesn’t coincide with any definitions used before in CBAs or contracts, etc. It is not necessarily equivalent to what would count for a season toward vesting. To understand how Eligible Seasons are calculated, please see the attached document.