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NCAA Failure to Take Action on Football Head Injuries Class Action

“[T]he majority of football-related hits to the head exceed 20Gs, with some approaching 100Gs.” So says the complaint for this class action, suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for not disclosing information about the traumatic effects of head injuries, even though, the complaint says, the organization knew about them for decades. 

The class for this action is all individuals who played in the University of Central Arkansas’s football program between 1952 and 2010.

The NCAA oversees twenty-three college sports that involve more than 400,000 students. It now takes in more than $750 million in revenue every year. Interestingly, the complaint says that the organization was founded in 1906, among other things, for “safeguarding the well-being of student athletes” because, at the time, college football head injuries were happening much too often. 

Brains are soft tissue, buffered from the hard skull with spinal fluid. 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. 

Studies on sports brain injuries began with studies of boxers in the 1920s. 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 for all sports. However, the complaint says that the policy set forth is flawed, because it relies on athletes self-policing when 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 Failure to Take Action on Football Head Injuries Class Action

January 25, 2019

“[T]he majority of football-related hits to the head exceed 20Gs, with some approaching 100Gs.” So says the complaint for this class action, suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for not disclosing information about the traumatic effects of head injuries, even though, the complaint says, the organization knew about them for decades. 

ncaa_u_of_ark_football_compl.pdf

Case Event History

NCAA Failure to Take Action on Football Head Injuries Class Action

January 25, 2019

“[T]he majority of football-related hits to the head exceed 20Gs, with some approaching 100Gs.” So says the complaint for this class action, suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for not disclosing information about the traumatic effects of head injuries, even though, the complaint says, the organization knew about them for decades. 

ncaa_u_of_ark_football_compl.pdf
Tags: Sports, Sports Injuries or Death