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NFL, union to provide coverage to retired players with ALS

The NFL has expanded its coverage for former players under its dementia plan to provide benefits to retired players who suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

The league and the NFL Players Association agreed to the change and announced it Monday in a joint written statement.

"We are pleased to jointly expand this financial resource that will improve the quality of life for suffering former players and alleviate the financial drain imposed on their families by this terrible disease," the league and union said in their written statement.

According to the announcement, players will qualify for benefits without regard to causation, as with dementia benefits. Eligible players will receive as much as $88,000 annually for institutional care, as much as $50,000 per year for home care plus costs for certain medical services, equipment and medication, according to the announcement.

The NFL's plan for dementia benefits is called the "88 Plan" after former tight end John Mackey, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mackey's wife Sylvia expressed her approval of the new benefits.

"I think it is absolutely wonderful and very deserved," Sylvia Mackey said by telephone. "I have had wives call me in the past and tell me their husbands were suffering from ALS and they could not understand why they were not covered. It is needed."

According to the announcement by the league and union, the plan has awarded $9.7 million toward the care of 132 former players since its inception in 2006.

By Mark Maske  |  October 18, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  | Category:  Retired Players Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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