NCAA Settles Lawsuit Over College Football Players’ Concussion Injuries
On Tuesday, July 29th, the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) agreed to a preliminary settlement in a class action filed by college football players who suffered a serious concussion injury.
The lawsuit aimed to bring wide-spread changes to how the football association handles head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The changes will impact both male and female athletes across each division involved in the NCAA – including basketball, hockey, wrestling, soccer, and lacrosse – as well as current and former college football players.
The preliminary settlement sets aside $70 million for medical monitoring of concussion injuries in players, and establishes a new protocol for treating head injuries and concussions sustained during both games and practices. Unlike the recent NFL settlement, the fund will not directly pay players for their concussion injuries; instead, individual players can file a lawsuit individually seeking funds related to their injuries.
“This offers college athletes another level of protection, which is vitally important to their health,” said the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steve Berman. “Student-athletes — not just football players — have dropped out of school and suffered huge long-term symptoms because of brain injuries. Anything we can do to enhance concussion injury management is a very important day for student-athletes.”
The concussion injury lawsuit settlement, which was filed in the Northern District of Illinois, still requires approval from Judge John Z. Lee.
“This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions,” Brian Hainline, the chief medical officer of the N.C.A.A., said.
“I wouldn’t say these changes solve the safety problems, but they do reduce the risks,” Joseph Siprut, the lead plaintiffs’ attorney who spearheaded talks with the NCAA, said. “It’s changed college sports forever.”
The settlement includes another $5 million to cover “research the prevention, treatment, and/or effects of concussions” over 10 years.
NCAA documents provided during the discovery phase of the trial showed that student football players suffered 30,000 concussion injuries at colleges between 2004 and 2009. Although the NCAA adopted concussion treatment reforms recently, research since 1986 should have led to better diagnoses and treatment sooner. The current lawsuit alleges that the NCAA has been negligent toward its players.
However, the settlement does not fully cover recovery and medical treatment of concussions. To qualify for a settlement-funded neurological exam, former athletes must fill out a questionnaire designed by concussion experts and neurologists; however, if those qualifying for the neurological exam need additional treatment, they must use their own insurance, or bring a lawsuit against the NCAA on an individual basis.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
For many victims, a concussion or traumatic brain injury is not immediately noticeable. Concussion or traumatic brain injury symptoms may not appear for several days after the initial trauma. If you or a loved one suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident or negligence, the Strom Law Firm offers a free, no-cost consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today at 803.252.4800