UPDATE 1-NFL agrees to eliminate cap on player payments in concussion lawsuit

Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:35pm EDT

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(Adds comment from players' attorney, details, background)

By Curtis Skinner

June 25 (Reuters) - The National Football League has agreed to eliminate the cap on monetary awards available to players who were part of a major lawsuit over concussions suffered on the field, the NFL said on Wednesday.

The lawsuit was settled between the U.S. league and thousands of former players last August at $765 million, but a federal judge hesitated to sign off on the deal because she worried it would not be enough money to pay all the affected players.

Under the revised terms, funds will be available once the compensation program is set up to any retired player who develops certain neurocognitive conditions, including dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, according to a statement from the NFL.

The new settlement was reached under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, who presided over the case and had expressed concerns about the settlement. Brody must still finalize the agreement, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania for preliminary approval.

"This agreement will give retired players and their families immediate help if they suffer from a qualifying neurocognitive illness, and provide peace of mind to those who fear they may develop a condition in the future," said Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, attorneys for the players, in a statement.

In addition, the agreement requires the NFL to pay for the costs of notifying injured players and administrating the settlement. The league will also set aside $10 million for education on concussion prevention. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Susan Heavey)

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