Jul 15, 2016
Judge OKs Concussion Lawsuit Settlement

On Thursday, a federal judge made a preliminary approval to settle a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA over concussions, with a settlement of $75 million. According to USA Today, $70 million of the settlement money will be used to set up a 50-year monitoring program for college athletes and will also pay attorneys’ fees. The other $5 million will be used for research into prevention and treatment of concussions. The program will make screenings and evaluations available to everyone who is or used to be a NCAA student-athlete in any sport.

The settlement also allows accommodations for student-athletes who suffered concussions, concussion-related education, and changes to return-to-play guidelines. The changes to the rules include requirements that anyone who is diagnosed with a concussion must receive permission from a physician before resuming play, and that such physicians be present at NCAA games in all three divisions.

Steve Berman, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement through his firm, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, that he was pleased with the ruling.

“This is a historic settlement that will provide certainty, safety and measurable guidelines of player health to an estimated 4.4 million current and former student-athletes,” Berman said. “We are pleased with the court’s decision and the changes this litigation will bring to make college sports a safer environment and to hold NCAA-affiliated schools responsible for the potentially life-altering effects of concussions.”

Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, said he was happy with the ruling.

“We are pleased the settlement is moving toward final approval,” Remy said. “Student-athlete well-being has always been our priority and we have preliminary approval for a pathway that provides medical monitoring of current and former student-athletes who may have developed sport-related concussion.”

Although the lawsuit was settled, some personal-injury lawsuits, separate from this case, will still go forward against the NCAA, as well as some schools and conferences. Those filing the lawsuits, led by a Chicago-based law practice, are not satisfied with the $75 million ruling, and seek additional punitive and compensatory damages.

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