Ken Stabler estate's CTE settlement claim denied 3rd time
A scathing Deadspin article making the rounds has late Alabama great Ken Stabler’s struggle in life with CTE and his estate’s legal battle with the NFL back in the news.
Stabler passed away on July 8, 2015. Seven months after his death, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). (CTE can only be diagnosed after death.)
In 2012, Stabler joined a class-action concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL regarding the league’s denial and manipulation of the science surrounding head trauma. Stabler was considered the most prominent player in the suit.
The NFL ended up settling with the class members as part of a mass tort. The terms of the settlement, however, stated that only the families of players who died between July 7, 2014, and April 22, 2015 were eligible for a CTE-related monetary reward. Stabler missed that cutoff. Due to the terms of the settlement, the estate’s lawyers sought a claim based on Stabler’s posthumous diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The NFL fought this claim, saying the Alzheimer’s diagnosis would have needed to have been made while Stabler was living. The estate countered that due to Stabler’s colon cancer diagnosis in 2015, he did not see a neurologist (who could have made the Alzheimer’s diagnosis). In late June, a non-profit called Advocacy for Fairness in Sports discovered that the Stabler estate had been denied a CTE settlement claim for the third time, likely, the end of the road for the Stabler estate in its court battle with the NFL.
It is the June development that led Deadspin’s Dom Cosentino to write a new article, published Wednesday, titled “Football Destroyed Ken Stabler’s Brain. Why Isn’t His Family Getting A Cent From The Concussion Settlement?” Cosentino speaks to Stabler’s late partner Kim Bush and eldest daughter Kendra Stabler Moyes. Bush shares some understandable frustration reflecting on the family’s long fight to be compensated for the head injuries Stabler suffered playing in the NFL.
“I guess in some weird, kind of crazy way, we can close the book, you know?” Bush told Deadspin. “At least now you know definitively, okay, everybody has screwed him that can screw him. Let him rest in peace, put it behind us, and move on.”
Kendra goes into heartbreaking detail recalling Ken’s declining health and everyday struggles late in life.
“His head just thundered,” Bush told me. “I could just look into those beautiful blue eyes and I knew what was going on. He typically would look at me some days and just pull his head back, bounce it against his recliner, and go bang-bang-bang, and just say, ‘It never stops.’ And he clenched his teeth so badly that he broke a bridge in his mouth.”
Cosentino’s long article is a worthwhile read for all.