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Former Student-Athletes File Lawsuit against NCAA regarding Concussions

Written by Ankin Law Office

College and professional football organizations have come under fire lately for their possible role in player head injuries and the resulting medical effects. Most recently, three former college football players filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA, accusing the collegiate athletic association of failing to educate players about the risks associated with concussions and for failing to take adequate measures to prevent, diagnose, and treat brain injuries.

The plaintiffs – which include Chris Walker and Ben Martin, who played for Tennessee from 2007-2011, and Dan Ahern, who played for North Carolina State from 1972-76 – are seeking a court-supervised, NCAA-funded medical monitoring program for the lifelong risks of brain injury since “monetary damages alone cannot compensate [plaintiffs] for the increased risks of long-term physical and economic losses associated with brain injury,” according to the complaint.

According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit is similar to an action filed in Illinois in 2011 in which former Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington and several other former athletes allege that the NCAA negligently failed to establish a clear policy about dealing with concussions. The parties to the Illinois lawsuit are currently engaged in mediation. Both lawsuits seek class action certification on behalf of other similarly situation players.

As we reported last week, the NFL and more than 4,500 retired players recently reached a proposed $765-million settlement of concussion-related lawsuits, which accused the NFL of failing to properly treat players for traumatic head injuries, including concussions, and concealing the link between football and head injuries. The players alleged that the NFL knew of the harmful risks associated with multiple concussions as early as the 1920s, but did not disclose this information to players until 2010.

Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, have been linked to a number of lifelong medical problems, including depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and increased risk for stroke. Research also shows that NFL players were more likely to exhibit the physical symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, sleep problems and loss of sex drive, rather than mental symptoms, such as sadness.

Athletes are especially susceptible to repeat head injuries. In fact, an athlete who suffers a concussion is up to four times more likely to sustain a second concussion, according to neurologists.  When a football player returns to play before he has fully recovered from the initial concussion, the athlete is at serious risk for secondary impact syndrome (SIS), which can result in massive swelling of the brain and, in some cases, may lead to a loss of blood flow to the brain, which can place the athletes at an increased risk for learning difficulties and other neuropsychological difficulties.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, contact the Chicago head injury attorneys at Ankin Law Offices at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible cause of action.