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NCAA Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation

Football HelmetThe National Collegiate Athletic Association is facing a wave of class-action lawsuits related to how they handled concussions and failed to protect their student athletes. Currently, the total of lawsuits stands at 43 and includes former players from universities all across the country. In the lawsuit, the players alleged that management did not properly handle concussions they suffered while playing college football, resulting in subsequent conditions that range from memory loss to headaches and emotional side effects, such as depression.

Tom Sullivan, a former player for the University of California Los Angeles football team, is one of the plaintiffs. Sullivan played 35 games between the years 1979 and 1982 and, during that time, sustained 20 concussions. Due to these repeated injuries, Sullivan now suffers from a decline in cognitive functioning and other debilitating issues.

The lawsuits allege that prior to the NCAA’s guidelines created in 2010, universities, athletic conferences, and the NCAA knew or should have known about the risks their student athletes were exposed to in playing football, but failed to enact policies to protect them. Instead, they attempted to hide the information to protect their profits.

These current lawsuits arose from a dispute in 2011 when the NCAA was sued over its failure to protect student athletes from the degenerative brain disorders they faced as a result of their concussions. While it resulted in a proposed settlement of $70 million toward testing former athletes and an additional $5 million toward concussion-related research, it did not include any specific compensation for medical costs of former athletes with long-term effects from head injuries after their careers were over. Therefore, the settlement was challenged, and the lawsuit continued to grow.

Find Out if You Have a Case Against the NCAA

If you are a current or former student-athlete who played in one or more National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sanctioned events, you may be affected by the outcome of a class action lawsuit. The suit filed against the NCAA claims that the organization acted negligently and failed to implement rules regarding concussion management and prevention in student-athletes. The class action suit is seeking (1) funds to diagnose the effects of concussions or sub-concussive hits sustained by student athletes and (2) changes to NCAA policy. Currently, a settlement is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

To be eligible, student-athletes must have played:

  • An NCAA sanctioned sport
  • At an NCAA school
  • Before July 15, 2016

The Settlement

The NCAA has agreed to set aside a $70 million medical monitoring fund to provide qualifying athletes with screenings and evaluations aimed at assessing symptoms related to post-concussion syndrome. The medical examinations will also look for cognitive, behavioral, and/or motor function issues that are linked to concussions or conditions such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NCAA will also contribute $5 million towards research seeking to prevent, diagnose, and manage concussions and neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the NCAA has agreed to change its return-to-play and concussion management policies.

Are You Suffering? Shrader & Associates L.L.P. Can Help

If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of participating in collegiate sports, Shrader & Associates, LLP wants to hear your story. Our sports injury attorneys are highly familiar with the effects of concussive injuries and can help you to understand your legal options. We have recovered more than $100 million for our clients in injury cases and know how to fight for the money that you deserve.

For more information on student-athlete concussion litigation or any of the services we offer, call (877) 958-7920 or contact our firm online and tell us about your situation.


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