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NCAA Head Injury Lawsuit Reaches Settlement

The NCAA head injury lawsuit has reached a settlement that, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, will “change college sports forever.”

The class-action lawsuit represents about 30 former college athletes who suffered permanent brain injuries from participating in sports. The lead plaintiff, Adrian Arrington, is a former football player at Eastern Illinois University. In 2009, Arrington was hit so hard during a football game that he stumbled sideways to the sideline. When the team coach told him to go back into the game just minutes later, Arrington’s dad ran down from the stands to confront the football staff. Arrington was already suffering from weekly seizures, migraines, and blackouts from previous sports-induced concussions. His dad screamed, “He’s not going back in the game! He’s had too many concussions! He’s done playing football.” Arrington never returned to the field.

The settlement reached between the class of athletes and the NCAA will institute changes to the way teams handle players who suffer head injuries. Specifically, players who suffer a concussion may not continue playing on the same day. According to a 2010 NCAA survey, half of the collegiate sport trainers returned athletes to the same game in which they were concussed. Additionally, the settlement includes $70 million dedicated to screening for athletes who suspect brain injuries, and $5 million for research.

Other regulations included in the settlement:

  • Concussion education for athletes
  • Mandated tracking and reporting of NCAA athletes who suffer concussions
  • Medical staff with concussion training is required at all contact sports games
  • Streamlined testing

Judge John Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois must approve the settlement. The settlement does not include players’ injury claims.