MANDEVILLE, La. -- Decades of hard hits on the football field spawned a lawsuit against the NFL in 2011, claiming the league knew concussions caused by the game could lead to long-term brain injuries, but stayed quiet about it.
Last week, the NFL agreed to an almost $800 million settlement to that lawsuit that would give all 18,000 former players compensation for any brain conditions, cover medical exams for them, and invest in medical research.
It is something former Saints player Rich Mauti says he's fought for since the late '70s.
"Clearly there's some issues there that a lot of players are in the position now where they can't do anything, in a serious struggle," he said. "And so it’ll give them some well needed relief and financial relief."
But Mauti says it doesn't address current and up-and-coming players, like his son Mike Mauti, a rookie this year with the Minnesota Vikings. That's why he and three other former players have filed a new lawsuit against the NFL and a helmet company.
They want better equipment, medical monitoring and treatment programs for former, current and future players, even for younger players.
"The big thing really is going to be moving forward with the studies and making the game safer today,” said Mauti, “I'm concerned about the players today and making sure the NFL is doing everything they can to protect those guys."
The players’ wives are also involved in this lawsuit as the potential caretakers of players with brain injuries.
It's an all-encompassing effort to do, Mauti says, the right thing.
"It's taken us 35 years to get to the point where we have some good health care, potentially, not enough, but it’s still going in the right direction," he said.
The current settlement proposal has to be approved by a federal judge. It is expected that the new lawsuit, backed by Mauti, will be combined with the other case.