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NCAA pays $70 million to settle head-injury lawsuit

Head and brain injuries are not limited to sudden accidents. Trained athletes in regulated sports can also suffer these injuries.

As part of a recent class-action settlement that resolved ten lawsuits filed throughout the country, the NCAA agreed to create a $70 million fund to diagnose whether thousands of former and current college athletes had suffered brain trauma while playing football, basketball, and a number of other sports.

The filing notifies the federal judge overseeing this case that the parties reached an agreement following one year of negotiations. The court’s required approval process will take months and affected athletes must also approve the agreement.

In addition to the creation of this fund, all athletes will have to complete standard neurological tests each year. Doctors will use these tests to determine the severity of a concussion suffered during an athletic season.

Unlike a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against the NFL, no money will be set aside to pay athletes who suffered brain trauma. These players will continue to be able to sue for damages. These future lawsuits will be also able to use the NCAA-funded tests as evidence.

One lead plaintiff claimed that he suffered five concussions while playing football, that some of the severe concussions made him unable to recognize his parents and that subsequent seizures, headaches, depression and memory losses made it difficult to work or care for his children. Another plaintiff claimed he suffered concussions while playing football which made it difficult to retain what he studied and made him drop out of college.

The NCAA admitted no wrongdoing. It also announced a three-year concussion study paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense and said it has imposed programs to mitigate the risks of concussion.

Arizona athletes, workers and motorists who suffer a traumatic brain injury should seek advise to determine whether they are entitled to compensation for health care expenses and other losses. Legal representation will help protect rights and determine liability for these injuries.

Source: KVOA News Tucson, “NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules,” July 29, 2014

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