As we discussed in an earlier post, concussions and the lasting damage they can cause have received enormous amounts of media attention recently. A series of lawsuits have rocked the NFL and a major class action case has been filed against the NCAA.
The lawsuit, Arrington v. National Collegiate Athletic Association et al, brought by former Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington, accuses the NCAA of failing to protect student-athletes for decades despite being aware of the lasting effects of head injuries. The suit goes further, accusing the NCAA of refusing to implement needed changes for the sake of profits.
The suit specifically alleges that strategies employed by the coaching staff at various colleges and universities led to head injuries and that the NCAA did nothing to implement procedures to screen for such harm. The plaintiff’s attorneys go on to fault the NCAA for failing to treat head injuries once they occurred and for not developing a proper support system to care for players who had been injured and are no longer able to play. The suit points out that the organizations rakes in upwards of $740 million in revenue each year yet provides no salary, pension or medical benefits for the players that put themselves in harms way every game day.
The last time we discussed the suit the NCAA had yet to respond to the charges leveled by Arrington’s lawyers. Since then lawyers representing the organization filed a response to the claims in the class action.
The NCAA did not deny making money, saying that it had revenues of $749.8 million in the 2009-2010 season, nor did it dispute not providing financial compensation for players. The organization did disagree with the idea that it does not require member institutions to educate players about the seriousness of head injuries.
“Each member institution is responsible for protecting the health of its student-athletes,” the NCAA wrote in its response. The NCAA went on to say that “for decades it has provided appropriate information and guidance on concussions to its member institutions,” and that it encourages schools to educate athletes about “symptoms associated with concussions.”
The NCAA concluded by denying knowledge of the specific practices that Arrington alleges took place and which lead to the injury of so many players.
Source: “NCAA denies claims in concussion lawsuits from former football players,” by Alex Vorro, published at InsideCounsel.com.