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Class Certification Sought in NCAA Concussion Lawsuit

Written by Ankin Law Office

With the college football season just a few weeks away, the NCAA is entrenched in yet another lawsuit. Earlier this month, plaintiffs requested class action certification to include thousands of plaintiffs nationwide in a lawsuit against the collegiate athletic association. A class action lawsuit may be appropriate when there are a large number of plaintiffs with similar legal claims.

The original lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2011 on behalf of former Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington and several other former athletes, alleges that the NCAA negligently failed to establish a clear policy about dealing with concussions. Plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and changes in policy, including the establishment of a long-term medical monitoring program for injured athletes and new concussion guidelines for schools and coaches.

As this ESPN article explains, in its request for certification as class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs cited to an internal NCAA survey from 2010, in which nearly half of the college trainers who responded to the survey indicated that they put athletes showing signs of a concussion back into the same game – which can place an athlete at increased risk for subsequent concussions and secondary impact syndrome.

As we have reported in several recent blog posts, concussions and head injuries have become a major concern in sports in recent years. The NFL is currently being sued by more than 4,000 former players seeking millions of dollars for mental and physical health problems attributed to head injuries suffered during their football careers.

Head injuries, including concussions, have been linked to a number of lifelong medical problems, such as depression, fatigue, and sleep problems. Athletes are especially susceptible to secondary impact syndrome, which can lead to a loss of blood flow to the brain, placing the athlete at an increased risk for learning difficulties and other neuropsychological difficulties. Moreover, research shows that a traumatic brain injury can also increase the risk of stroke.

Concussions and other head injuries are not just a concern for adult athletes, but for youth athletics as well. As we reported, sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries for those persons under age 19 rose 60 percent from 2001 to 2009.

The NCAA is currently involved in another high profile lawsuit, in which several current and former college football players claims that the NCAA and Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Company violated federal antitrust laws by allowing their likeness to be used without compensation.

The Chicago head injury attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC focus on representing the victims of head injuries, including athletes who have suffered a sports-related head injury.  If you or your child has suffered a sports-related head injury, such as a concussion, do not hesitate to contact one of our skilled Chicago head injury attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation.