The National Football League (NFL) is not the only sports organization to reach a concussion settlement agreement with players. As of this week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is also reported to have a settlement. According to a report in USA Today, the college sports organization reached an agreement with the lawsuit plaintiffs just hours before a scheduled status hearing.
The first complaint was filed more than three years ago by four former players. Two of the complainants were former football players, while one was a soccer player and the fourth played hockey. Each of them reportedly claimed to suffer from headaches and depression. Some also asserted having seizures. Over the next few months, at least nine other lawsuits were reportedly filed. They each asserted that NCAA officials knowingly withheld information from student players about the risk of concussions, along with their long term effects. While the settlement does not provide specific damage awards for the original plaintiffs, it does allow each of them to bring their own personal injury complaints against the NCAA individually.
The Settlement Details
The settlement includes numerous provisions, including:
***NCAA schools must revise their concussion policies, including return-to-play regulations
***A medical monitoring program that will last continue for 50 years, with $70 million for screening and $5 million for brain injury research. This will include an assessment of self-reported symptoms that may alert to concussions, along with an in-person medical evaluation
***Athlete baseline testing at the beginning of every season of sports play ***No return to play on the date of a concussion diagnosis ***Medical professional present at all games and on-call for practices ***Faculty training on academic accommodations for students with concussions ***Yearly training for all athletes, coaches and trainers
The agreement also calls for the appointment of a medical science committee. If approved, it will reportedly include:
***Retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen as the chair of the committee
***Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer
***Robert Cantu, a concussion expert and the medical director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports injury research
***Ruben Echemendia, physician with the NHL and U.S. soccer federation
***A fourth expert, as selected by the chair.
The settlement agreement is not yet finalized. It must first be approved by a district court judge, who makes a determinations about its fairness and reasonableness. If rejected, the lawsuit may head down the lengthy road of renegotiations and a possible trial. If it is accepted, NCAA players are reportedly allowed to opt out, possibly leading to other lawsuits.
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries, occurring in various degrees of severity. They commonly occur among athletes and multiple concussions can have long lasting medical effects. While some people exhibit symptoms, such as passing out or forgetfulness, others show no symptoms at all. It is vitally important for parents of athletes to understand the ramifications of untreated concussions.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of another, contact the experienced injury attorneys today for guidance.
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