The NFL is facing a new obstacle in its quest to protect players past, present and future from long-term issues related to concussions and head trauma.
Per ESPN.com's Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the NFL doesn't have general liability insurance for head trauma due to an "evaporating insurance market that is fundamentally altering the economics of the sport, squeezing and even killing off programs faced with higher costs and a scarcity of available coverage."
One reason given for the NFL's difficulty obtaining insurance is the league's settlement from a 2013 class action lawsuit that provides retired players with up to $5 million for serious medical conditions associated with head trauma.
Per the NFL's concussion settlement website, $611.4 million has been paid out as of Jan. 14.
ESPN.com's report noted prior to the start of the NFL's concussion litigation in 2011, there were "at least a dozen" insurance carriers covering the league.
The NFL has taken steps in recent years to make the game safer for players on the field. The league awarded $35 million last year to five different organizations researching and treating head injuries.
Several rule changes have also been implemented in recent years, including penalizing players 15 yards if they lower their helmet to initiate contact and preventing coverage teams from getting a running start prior to kickoffs.