The NCAA finally agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit led against them by several states such as Georgie and South Carolina. The deal requires that a $70 million fund be put aside to help pay for the diagnosis of thousands of current and former college athletes if they believe they have suffered from a brain injury playing contact sports.
on when a player can return after a head injury that must be followed by all colleges. The NCAA has previously been accused of allowing too much individual discretion when allowing people back into play which may have increased the likelihood of the athlete sustaining an injury again.
Some critics argue that this settlement does not do enough. Unlike a similar settlement in the NFL, the fund does not put aside funds to help pay for operations if an athlete is found to have suffered from a head injury. Instead, the amount paid out for operations is taken on an individual basis when the athlete sues the NCAA. The diagnosis from the NCAA-funded medical exams can be used as evidence to get compensation.
Some have complained about the lack of a cut-off date for when an athlete can receive treatment. This means that someone who has not played college sports for decades can claim a free diagnosis if they have played in the 1,000 NCAA member-schools and potentially sue for damages.
The lead plaintiff’s attorney, Joseph Siprut, said that the negotiations were sometimes tough, but the deal could see college football becoming a lot safer. Siprut said, “I wouldn’t say these changes solved the safety problems, but they do reduce the risks.” He believes a stricter oversight of safety can put parents’ minds at rest so that they can allow their child to participate in sports.
The NCAA had denied understating the dangers of concussions. Along with the diagnosis fund, baseline neurological tests have to be taken each year to help doctors understand the severity of any concussion for an athlete. Researchers announced a $30 million concussion study in May that involved collecting initial data from 7,200 athletes.
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