The NCAA’s concussion settlement

It’s hardly more than a good start, if that.  The NCAA puts up $70 million in a fund that can be accessed by players to screen as to whether any suffer head-injury problems, but no money is set aside for actual damages.  Instead, any player with issues will have to sue to collect compensation.

There are some agreed to mandates on current policy…

– Preseason baseline testing for every athlete for each season in which he or she competes

– Prohibition from return to play on the same day an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion. Generally accepted medical protocols recommend athletes not return to play the same day if they exhibit signs of a concussion or are diagnosed with one, but a 2010 survey of certified athletic trainers conducted by the NCAA found that nearly half reported that athletes had returned to play the same day.

– Requirement that medical personnel be present for all games and available for practices for all contact sports, defined in the settlement as football, lacrosse, wrestling, ice hockey, field hockey, soccer and basketball. Those personnel must be trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.

– Implementation of concussion tracking in which schools will report concussions and their resolution

– Requirement that schools provide NCAA-approved training to athletes, coaches and athletic trainers before each season

– Education for faculty on the academic accommodations needed for students with concussions

… but also a question as to how far those mandates go.

Huma told ESPN the settlement also falls short of protecting current players because it does not mandate new return-to-play protocols. Instead, the NCAA and the plaintiffs agreed that remaining guidelines for schools and the implementation of those guidelines are subject to the NCAA’s rule-making process.

“And we know what the regular NCAA rule-making process is like. It could take years, or they could shoot it down,” Huma said. “The settlement represents yet another refusal of the NCAA to protect players from unnecessary brain trauma. Instead of agreeing to rules that protect players’ brains by reducing contact in practices and mandatory return-to-play protocols, such protections would remain optional.”

He has a point about the NCAA’s rule-making process.

And one other thing – that $70 million isn’t all for screening.

The NCAA, which in the settlement denied the plaintiffs’ allegations, agreed not to oppose attorneys’ fees up to $15 million. Those fees and expenses would come out of the $75 million assigned for medical monitoring and research.

So, progress of a sort, at best.  And the agreement still has to be approved by the court.  In other words, this one has a long way to go.

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5 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

5 responses to “The NCAA’s concussion settlement

  1. 69Dawg

    I’m sorry but this just seems like another big law firm getting a big payday for little real results for the plaintiff. NCAA will pay for screening but that’s it. Whoopie do. Waiting for the Rules Committee to act could take the lifetime of some of the current players. Mark my words if the NCAA doesn’t act quickly the Congress will smell an easy issue to drum up votes. Once again the adults have delayed needed reform but the “we have the student-athlete’s best interests at heart” crap goes on forever.

  2. 69Dawg

    And another thing, how much research does it take to know that repeated blows to the head can be hazardous to your mental health. This looks like the old big tobacco stall technique that worked so well for years. Have we not known for at least 50 years that punch drunk boxers got that way by being punched. The love of money is truly the root of all evil.

  3. Dog in Fla

    In related entertainment news, NCAA concussion settlement rings bell of 69Dawg

  4. 81Dog

    here’s what I say about attorney’s fees in contingency cases: how much did the plaintiffs have before the lawsuit? how much would they have gotten on their own, without guys skilled enough to make the case and force the settlement? If you don’t think the NCAA and its lawyers, who have access to basically limitless TV money to fight a war of attrition, put up a tooth and nail struggle to avoid all of this, you have a lot more faith in their inherent reasonableness than I do.

    In the entire history of the NCAA, they’ve never put aside 60 million bucks for concussion treatment, exams, etc. Or for anything else. I doubt they suddenly decided to give in from the goodness of their hearts. Someone had to force them to do right. Their fees and expenses are about 20 percent of the total pot. 80 percent of 75 million sounds like a lot more than 100 of nothing.

    People like to complain about lawyers. Not all lawyers are great guys, or great professionals, but my impression of this case is that they did a first class job for their clients and earned their money. No matter how they evaluated the case on the front end, they had to agree to gamble that they’d win or force a settlement. 20 percent of nothing is, well, nothing.