NFL Helmet Concussion LawsuitIs the NCAA in the same position that the NFL was in just a few months ago?

Remember just a little while ago when the National Football League agreed to pay $765 million to 4,500 former players to settle their concussion lawsuits?  If you don’t, I will try to refresh your memory.  Former NFL players sued the NFL, claiming that “the NFL was aware of the risks associated with concussions, but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information from the players.”  Although concussions are still a huge problem, we gradually stopped hearing about the NFL concussion lawsuits following the multi million dollar settlement.

Is the NCAA Under the Same Heat of Fire as the NFL in Terms of Player Concussions?

Now, four former college athletes (Adrian Arrington, Derek Owens, Angel Palacios, and Kyle Solomon) have joined forces and have brought a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), alleging that the NCAA disregarded a growing “concussion problem for decades.”  According to fox news, the former players also allege the following:

  • The NCAA “failed to properly educate competitors about the dangers of concussions.”
  • The NCAA “failed to establish comprehensive policies for the diagnosis and treatment of head injuries.”
  • The NCAA “failed to draft rules setting minimum standards for when an injured player could return to competition.”

The former players claim that the NCAA knew about the dangers associated with concussions since 1933, yet failed to implement proper concussion policies until 2010.  They further claim that even when the NCAA did implement a concussion policy in 2010, it failed to set minimum standards.

NCAA’s Concussion Policy of 2010

NCAA’s concussion policy, which was adopted in August 2010, gave each school associated with the NCAA the right to adopt its own standards and guidelines regarding head injuries.  These concussion policies required the following four things:

1) All college athletes needed to be trained about the signs and symptoms of concussions annually.

2) If an athlete displayed signs or symptoms of a concussion, he or she needed to “be evaluated by a member of the school's medical staff with experience in the evaluation and management of concussions.”

3) If an athlete was diagnosed with a concussion, he or she needed to be “held out of competition for at least the remainder of that day.”

4) If an athlete was diagnosed with a concussion, he or she needed to be “cleared by a physician or the physician's designee before returning to competition.”

This case is currently in mediation and if the parties don’t come to a decision, anything can happen.  We will just have to wait and see.

Click to learn about sports concussions or to contact a sports concussion attorney.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think the NCAA will settle?