He has dealt with depression and memory problems.
"It's a good day, because we're getting help for those who need help," Rypien said, "and a sad day, because we didn't get this done earlier to help guys in the past."
Researchers at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, who have been examining brains of deceased NFL players, praised the $10 million set aside for research.
The lawsuits, along with a growing awareness that concussions can have serious long-term effects, have already spurred research into better helmets and changed the way the game is played.
Helmet maker Riddell, which was also sued, was not a party to the settlement. The company declined comment.
The NFL has also instituted rule changes designed to eliminate hits to the head and neck, protect defenseless players, and prevent athletes who have had concussions from playing or practicing until they are fully recovered. Independent neurologists must be consulted before a player can return to action.
One key rule change that takes effect this season bars ball carriers from using the crown of the helmet to make contact with defenders.
"We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation," NFL Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash said in a statement, the only comment issued by the league. "This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we've made in recent years to make the game safer."
AP Pro Football Writers Howard Fendrich and Barry Wilner in New York and AP Sports Writer Nancy Armour in Detroit contributed to this report.