A federal judge in Philadelphia has granted preliminary approval to a settlement between the National Football League and thousands of former players who suffer from brain damage and dementia as a result of concussions suffered on the field.

The decision by US District Judge Anita Brody comes two weeks after the NFL agreed to remove a $675 million ceiling it had placed on payments to former players who were part of a ground-breaking lawsuit over head injuries experienced during their time in the league.

In the revised settlement, there will still be a payout formula for retired players based on their age and illness. A total of $75 million was set aside for testing and $10 million for medical research and education.

The players' lawyers would be covered to the tune of $ 112 million by the NFL. And the total payout amount is said to be more than $870 million.

Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, co-lead counsels for the retired NFL player plaintiffs, released a statement following the announcement.

“We are pleased the Court has granted preliminary approval. This is an extraordinary settlement for retired NFL players and their families – from those who suffer with neuro-cognitive illnesses today, to those who are currently healthy but fear they may develop symptoms decades into the future."

Brody had denied an earlier settlement motion in January, saying the $760 million deal did not set aside enough money for the former players.

Former players will begin receiving notices about the new settlement ahead of a November hearing in the case.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies