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On the heels of the recent concussion controversy for collegiate and professional football players, numerous lawsuits have been filed by former college football players against the NCAA and their respective colleges. The lawsuits allege that the students suffered injuries as a result of their concussions being improperly handled by the school's coaching and athletics personnel. This past July, a federal judge granted preliminary approval to a $75 million class action settlement against the NCAA for their mishandling of concussions. The settlement, however, did not close the door on all the individual injury claims.
Since the settlement, more individual claims have been filed, including seven additional lawsuits by former players filed in August. This month, ESPN is reporting that the number of cases against the NCAA over the concussion scandal has risen to a whopping 43 individual cases.
What Concussion Scandal?
If you don't follow sports, or football, or perhaps you just woke up from a football induced coma, you may be wondering what this is all about. A few years ago, the NFL was rocked with a scandal involving teams downplaying the severity of concussions. The scandal was so widely reported that Columbia Pictures made a movie starring Will Smith about it all, creatively titled: Concussion.
After it was brought to light on the NFL level, it was discovered that NCAA college football programs had been guilty of downplaying the severity of concussions to the student athletes as well. The settlement reached last July with the NCAA included a $70 million allocation of funds for a medical monitoring program, as well as $5 million for the establishment of a research program dedicated to the prevention, treatment and effects of concussions. Additionally, the settlement requires medical testing for all NCAA athletes, as well as training on concussions for coaches, trainers and athletes, and includes new guidelines for returning a player to the field after a concussion.
What's at Stake in the New Lawsuits?
The new lawsuits are for the individual players to be able to recover damages for the injuries they suffered due to the NCAA and their individual colleges not properly handling concussions. Many of the claimants suffer from current medical problems that are related to the concussions they suffered during their time as student athletes.
Former players have reported that as a result of suffering numerous concussions during their college football careers, they now suffer from depression, loss of memory and brain function, an inability to focus and more. Additionally, research dating back to 2013 shows that these problems and worse are linked not just to concussions, but also the constant cage rattling that football players' brains experience.