Dead NFL Player Dave Duerson would Not Have Qualified for Full Disability Benefits
By ALAN SCHWARZ Published: May 4, 2011
BOSTON — As the football world absorbs Monday’s news that Dave Duerson had the football-related brain damage he suspected before fatally shooting himself in February, an overlooked detail has emerged: had Duerson reached out for help via the N.F.L.’s disability plan, which he helped administer, his neurological injuries would not have qualified for a high level of benefit, if any at all.
The disability program jointly run by the league and the players association gives its “football degenerative” award for total and permanent disability, up to $110,000 per year, for injuries deemed related to football that arise within 15 years of the player’s retirement. Anything that manifests itself later receives no more than $40,000, and players with neurological impairments have had difficulty getting that.