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NCAA facing another concussion suit

Ben Martin AP

On the heels of the NFL settling a class-action lawsuit with over 4,500 former pro players for hundreds of millions of dollars, the governing body of collegiate athletic is facing its own concussion-related lawsuit.  Again.

Former Tennessee Vols Chris Walker and Ben Martin (pictured), along with former North Carolina State player Chris Ahern, filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA Wednesday in a Chattanooga, Tenn., federal court.  The lawsuit claims, Jon Solomon of reports, that “the NCAA failed to educate football players of the long term, life-altering risks of head impacts, and did not establish known protocols to prevent, mitigate, monitor, diagnose and treat brain injuries.”

That negligence, the plaintiffs claim, led to players “[experiencing] increased risks of developing neurodegenerative disorders and diseases.”

And what are the players seeking in the suit?  Money from the NCAA that would be used to fund concussion research.

The plaintiffs are seeking a court-supervised, NCAA-funded medical monitoring program for the lifelong risks of brain injury. “Plaintiffs and the members of the Class have no adequate remedy at law in that monetary damages alone cannot compensate them for the increased risks of long-term physical and economic losses associated with brain injury,” the complaint states.

There are a staggering total of nine law firms involved in this suit, including one that employs Michael Hausfeld.  As you may know, Hausfield is the lead attorney in the O’Bannon lawsuit making its way through the legal system and which is seeking damages over the use of the likenesses of former college players in video games.

Also currently in the legal system is a similar concussion suit, filed by Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington in 2011 in Illinois, seeking damages for head injuries he suffered in his career.  It’s been previously reported that the NCAA is seeking to settle that suit before it can be certified with class-action status.

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4 Responses to “NCAA facing another concussion suit”
  1. southernpatriots says: Sep 4, 2013 3:56 PM

    When the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement was being proposed by the NFL to limit or eliminate their future liability, many NFL fans acted like cavemen, blaming former pro players for a money grab and similar things, which is certainly not true for those who truly suffered head injuries and life altering disabilities after football as they aged. If the new individual lawsuits which were filed in the last few days reach “discovery” status, then fans will be begin to see and read the huge amount of information which was available to the NFL and in this case to the NCAA.

    To the extent that this information was known by the NCAA and the NCAA through its member institutions did not act to inform the athletes and/or prevent further injury and lifelong health issues, they may be held liable for damages. This was long in coming and many have sounded alarms over the past decades to the NCAA and NFL. I expect helmet manufacturers to be brought into these and other class action law suits. They have research and technology they have paid for and yet either did not use or disseminate.

    In this case v. the NCAA, there are no damages sought for the athletes who are suing at this time. “The plaintiffs are seeking a court-supervised, NCAA-funded medical monitoring program for the lifelong risks of brain injury.” If the NFL case judge expands the settlement just a little, a similar result can happen there.

  2. farvite says: Sep 4, 2013 4:52 PM

    The NCAA is on the verge of extinction.

    I guess I can only hope this lawsuit speeds up their demise.

  3. pricecube says: Sep 4, 2013 6:45 PM

    There should be some kind of insurance for college athletes who suffer catastrophic injuries like Eric LeGrand or Inky Johnson.

    Unfortunately, with something as nebulous as the various repercussions that could occur from head injury this is going to get crazy. Lawyers will get rich on this one.

  4. southernpatriots says: Sep 4, 2013 7:16 PM

    pricecube: You are so right. Back in the early 80s I asked an athletic department liaison about that exact thing–catastrophic insurance for college athletes and though the costs were very low at that time, the liaison said the costs were too high for the department to afford and then went out and spent 10 times that much for a raise for one coach.

    Catastrophic insurance for athletes obviously is available. It should be prioritized and a done deal. There could even be group policies that could be continued by the players when they graduate. Since most major colleges and universities are part state public education or in huge endowment private universities, this is affordable and should be done.

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