Former Colts player to testify at NFL concussion settlement hearing Wednesday
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 17, 2014) — It’s a big week for the NFL.
Lawyers for more than 20,000 former professional football players are expected in court on Wednesday in Philadelphia to argue over the terms of a settlement between the NFL and the players over concussions incurred while playing the game.
Former Indianapolis Colts player Ben Utecht will speak at the fairness hearing.
Utecht was a tight end for the Indianapolis Colts when they won the Super Bowl in 2006.
He retired in 2009, with the Cincinnati Bengals after his fifth documented concussion.
Utecht says his brain injuries have led to his progressive memory loss.
“I am 33 years old, and I do have some significant long-term memory gaps. No player in the NFL should be concerned whether or not their team is going to take care of their brain health,” said Utecht.
Ben Utecht wrote the song “You’ll Always Be My Girls” for his daughters and wife about his memory loss.
The former NFL player now advocates for traumatic brain injury awareness.
The multi-million dollar settlement, which has drawn objections from some former National Football League players, provides for payments of up to $5 million to those with the most serious neurological impairments.
But it has drawn criticism, in part, over how it treats players with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, one of the most common neurological disorders suffered by football players.
CTE can only be diagnosed by examining the brain after a player has died. Right now, Utecht is not diagnosed.
Utecht wants the settlement to move forward, as long as players diagnosed with brain injuries will be taken care of by the NFL for several decades.
“The more decisions made to better educate and the care of our players from the professional level to collegiate will have an impact on youth sports,” said Utecht.