Fall means the start of football season. Fans wait all year for their favorite teams to take the field. This year the start of the season is also bringing something else: an increase in the number of class-action lawsuits against the NCAA and several college athletic conferences for concussions suffered by former college athletes.
Seven new class-action suits were filed at the end of August. The NCAA now faces at least twenty-four similar lawsuits. Most filed by or on behalf of former college football players still suffering the effects of head injuries sustained during play.
Head Injuries Front and Center
It’s estimated that more than 10,000 serious concussions are experienced by college athletes every year. The athletes that are suing over injuries they say they received while playing football in college. Concussions have been receiving more attention in recent years. Their dangers have been known to many medical professionals for some time. However, it was only in 2010 that the NCAA required member schools to adopt a rigorous concussion-management plan.
The lawsuits argue that long before that time the NCAA already knew, or should have known, the risks of head injuries, which include depression, headaches, memory loss, and—in more severe cases—a degenerative condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). There are potentially thousands of former student athletes out there who could become parties to similar legal actions.
Testing Offered, but Not Treatment
These new cases are a follow-on to a different case which made a similar argument and eventually led to a settlement (still not finalized) in which the NCAA would pay for testing and monitoring of former athletes and contribute toward concussion research. A settlement has been approved in that case. The total amount of $75 million seems trivial for an enterprise which makes nearly $1 billion annually.
The settlement only included payouts for testing. Some athletes brought new suits aimed at getting the NCAA to pay for their treatment and medical expenses. The NCAA objected, but the judge in the case ruled that this didn’t conflict with the original settlement and allowed those suits to move ahead. Some individual suits have also been settled.
Younger Players Also at Risk
The risk of head injury exists at every level of sport. There are also allegations that the people running programs at every level have ignored the risks and allowed their young players to suffer injury.
The NCAA isn’t the only organization facing legal claims of this kind. Pop Warner is the defendant in a class-action suit. That suit claims Pop Warner ignored risks of head injuries and knowingly put players in danger. Pop Warner has already settled at least two suits brought by individuals who made similar claims.
Indiana Brain Injury Lawyer
We have years of experience pursuing a variety of personal injury cases for our clients. We help clients move forward with their lives by successfully settling brain injury claims on their behalf. Concussion and traumatic brain injuries need to be taken seriously. If you or someone close to you has received this type of injury, either through sports, a car crash, or some other type of accident, you owe it to yourself to take all possible steps to recover the costs of medical care, lost wages, and other expenses.