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NCAA Concussion Settlement: $75M, New Guidelines Proposed

By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 29, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The NCAA has reached a $75 million settlement agreement in the various concussion cases filed against it, with new guidelines proposed for each of its member schools.

According to USA Today, the proposed settlement doesn't include any damages for the individual plaintiffs named in the suits, but it allows these players to file "separate personal injury lawsuits." The $75 million instead will go toward medical monitoring for current and former NCAA players, as well as research.

What else should fans know about this NCAA settlement?

Medical Monitoring, Concussion Research

About $70 million of the proposed $75 million settlement will be used to establish a "50-year medical monitoring program" for NCAA athletes, reports USA Today. Instead of choosing to pay out millions in funds to potentially brain-injured athletes, like the NFL chose to do, the NCAA will fund a decades-long medical screening program to monitor players for deleterious effects of concussions.

The remaining $5 million would go toward concussion research, potentially delving deeper into the causes and future effects of brain injuries in college sports. Players may be able to use future studies as a stepping stone to their own personal injury verdicts, as others have done with the NFL concussion research.

USA Today reports that the four named plaintiffs in the suit could receive $5,000 each from the medical monitoring fund for their "time and service," but they would not be barred from filing their own lawsuits. Joe Siprut, co-counsel for the plaintiffs, notes that there wasn't a good way to deal with this problem with a class-action settlement, "so the best we could do was create a platform for people to be able to make those claims individually."

Siprut and co-counsel may receive up to $15 million in attorney's fees from the $75 settlement award.

Changes in Policy

The biggest push from the NCAA concussion settlement will be in policy. The settlement would mandate the following changes:

  • Preseason baseline testing for every athlete;
  • Benching players on the same day they are diagnosed with a concussion;
  • Requiring medical personnel to be present for any games and practices for contact sports;
  • Requiring schools to report concussions and their resolutions;
  • Requiring schools to train athletes, coaches, and trainers; and
  • Requiring education for faculty on accommodations needed for students who've suffered concussions.

Judge John Z. Lee must give his approval to the settlement before any changes are made. Like the NFL's initial attempts, this proposal may be rejected.

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