The Chicago head injury lawyers at our firm continue to watch as new information keeps pouring in regarding Illinois brain injury lawsuits filed by former college athletes against the NCAA. Recently two more players filed suit against the collegiate athletic association alleging that the organization failed to keep them safe from concussions or provide necessary medical care following the concussions to prevent future injury. The lawsuits are the latest in a string of cases brought against the association alleging that their inadequate conduct has led to many long-term problems for the student athletes that it is supposed to protect.
According to the Associated Press, this latest federal suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and it involves two former college football players who claim that they both suffered a preventable brain injury because of the misconduct of the NCAA. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim in the documents filed with the court that the organization failed to establish proper head screening systems or enforce safety measures that were enacted over forty years ago. To help prevent future injuries, those filing this latest suit seek to have the organization institute a medical monitoring program. This case follows in the footsteps of the one filed early last month by two former Illinois football players.
Those involved with both cases are seeking to have it certified as a “class-action” suit. A judge has the power to designate a suit a class-action when for various reasons. One of the most common reasons is when there is a large group of potential plaintiffs all suffering similar harm. In this way, it is more convenient to consolidate the case into a single suit where all of the plaintiffs are represented in their capacity as a member of the class. For example, if the judge determines that all of the criteria are met in this case, then other former football players who suffered injury may be able to receive some compensation if an award or settlement is reached in this case. This is true even though those individual players did not file suit or take any specific legal steps on their own. In class-action suits there are publicity requirements which seek to ensure that those who may be members of the class are made aware of their inclusion.
As our Illinois brain injury attorneys have often explained, head injuries are particularly dangerous because they can appear minimal at first but have serious long-term effects later. There really is no room for error when it comes to preventing and treating these problems. Considering that the NCAA is well aware of the problems of concussions, methods of preventing them, detecting the brain injuries, and providing the long-term treatment necessary, there is no reason why it should fail to take every step possible to keep athletes safe. Whether student athletes are in middle school, high school, or college, it is incumbent on those involved in the safety of the program to step up and demand that proper steps be taken to ensure these vulnerable players do not suffer life-long consequences because of these brain injuries.
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