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Judge OKs $1 billion deal over NFL concussions lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge has approved a potential $1 billion plan to resolve thousands of NFL concussion lawsuits filed by retired players.

The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer's disease or moderate dementia someday. The settlement approved by a federal judge Wednesday would pay them an average $190,000.

Judge approves NFL concussion settlement

Under previously negotiated terms, a younger retiree with Lou Gehrig's disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000. Retirees without symptoms would get baseline screening, and follow-up care if needed.

The lawsuits accuse the league of hiding what it knew about concussion risks. The NFL denies the claims.

Players' lawyers say the settlement will help families get money or medical testing sooner than if the case went to trial.

The deal could cost the NFL more than $1 billion over 65 years.

In January of last year, a federal judge nixed a preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement, saying it was not enough to cover everyone affected.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year. The lead plaintiff, Ray Easterling, filed the first suit in Philadelphia in August 2011 but later committed suicide.

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