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NCAA and Football Head Injuries at University at Buffalo Class Action

Plaintiff Adam Lott played football at University at Buffalo (UB) from 2006 to 2011. He now suffers from emotional instability and losses of impulse control, inhibition, concentration, and memory. The complaint for this class action alleges that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) knew about the dangers of football for decades yet took no steps to guard the safety of college players. 

The class for this action is all individuals who participated in UB’s football program between 1952 and 2010.

The complaint says that the NCAA was founded in 1906 (as the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States), among other things, for “safeguarding the well-being of student athletes” because, at the time, college football head injuries were happening much too often. 

The complaint says, “[T]he majority of football-related hits to the head exceed 20 Gs, with some approaching 100 Gs.” Also, “During the course of a college football season, athletes absorb more than 1,000 impacts greater than 10 Gs” with the majority of hits to the head in excess of 20 Gs.

Brains are soft tissue, surrounded by spinal fluid to protect them from the hard skull. When the head experiences an impact, the brain can move through the spinal fluid and collide with the skull. This can happen not only with direct blows to the head, but also with impacts to the body and movements that make the neck whiplash. 

The study of sports brain injuries began in the 1920s with studies of boxers and the phenomenon of being “punch drunk.” By 1952, the complaint says, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine “recommended a ‘three-strike rule’ for concussions in football, demanding that players cease to play football permanently after receiving their third concussion.”

Since then, the complaint says, studies have shown that “repetitive and violent impacts to the head” can cause concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and can also have long-term effects including memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). 

A 2003 NCAA study said that football players who had previously had a concussion were more likely to have future concussions. Another NCAA study the same year said that players might need several days of recovery time after a concussion and that concussions are “followed by a complex cascade of ionic, metabolic, and physiological events that can adversely affect cerebral function for several days to weeks.”

Despite its knowledge of the effects of concussions, the complaint says, the NCAA did not properly warn players or put in place any standards for managing concussions, such as limiting when and how players are allowed to participate again. Only in 2010 did the NCAA require members to have a Concussion Management Plan. However, the complaint says that the policy set forth is flawed, because it relies on athletes self-policing even though concussions render them unable to do that competently. 

The complaint charges the NCAA with negligence, breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

NCAA and Football Head Injuries at University at Buffalo Class Action

February 13, 2019

Plaintiff Adam Lott played football at University at Buffalo (UB) from 2006 to 2011. He now suffers from emotional instability and losses of impulse control, inhibition, concentration, and memory. The complaint for this class action alleges that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) knew about the dangers of football for decades yet took no steps to guard the safety of college players. The complaint charges the NCAA with negligence, breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment.

ncaa_u_at_buffalo_football_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

NCAA and Football Head Injuries at University at Buffalo Class Action

February 13, 2019

Plaintiff Adam Lott played football at University at Buffalo (UB) from 2006 to 2011. He now suffers from emotional instability and losses of impulse control, inhibition, concentration, and memory. The complaint for this class action alleges that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) knew about the dangers of football for decades yet took no steps to guard the safety of college players. The complaint charges the NCAA with negligence, breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment.

ncaa_u_at_buffalo_football_complaint.pdf
Tags: Sports, Sports Injuries or Death