The NCAA is facing two separate class action lawsuits brought by former football players. While both class actions accuse the NCAA of negligence and misconduct in connection with concussions and head injury prevention, the lawsuits differ in a number of other ways.
Plaintiffs in the Adrian Arrington lawsuit, which has been pending in Illinois since 2011, accuse the NCAA of improperly handling concussions in college sports. The case is currently scheduled to begin mediation in November.
In a similar lawsuit, three former college football players, including Chris Walker, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Tennessee with similar complaints against the NCAA. In the wake of the Walker lawsuit, lawyers in the Arrington lawsuit filed documents asking the court to dismiss, merge or delay the Walker lawsuit, arguing that the allegations are “effectively the same” with different plaintiffs.
The Walker lawyers disagree, however, arguing that the Arrington lawsuit fails to include the most at-risk former college football players. The Arrington lawsuit seeks medical-monitoring relief on behalf of all male and female players in football, wrestling, basketball, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse or soccer since 2004 in 18 states. Conversely, the Walker lawsuit seeks medical monitoring in all 50 states for all living former college football players who didn’t reach the NFL.
Lawyers for the Walker lawsuit argue that class representatives – former Tennessee players Walker and Ben Martin and former N.C. State player Dan Ahern – would not be covered by the Arrington lawsuit. Walker and Martin would not be covered because the Arrington lawsuit does not seek medical monitoring for players in Tennessee; Ahern would not be covered because he played before 2004.
Both sets of plaintiffs have a lot at stake in seeing their claims survive. As we reported, the NFL recently agreed to pay $765-million to settle concussion-related lawsuits, which accuse 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 allege 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 shows that NFL players are 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.
The Chicago head injury lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to helping the victims of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries obtain the financial and legal recovery to which they are entitled. 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 Office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible cause of action.