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NCAA Settles Head-Injury Lawsuit

Aug. 04, 2014, 11:21 a.m. (ET)

*Article courtesy of the NCAA

NCAA Settles Head-Injury Lawsuit

The recent head-injury lawsuit against the NCAA has been settled, determining the role that the NCAA will play in concussion diagnosis of collegiate student-athletes, including field hockey players. The NCAA will provide $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of current and former NCAA student-athletes as a part of its agreement to settle claims in several consolidated concussion-related class actions.

The settlement agreement, which also includes educational initiatives and $5 million in concussion research, will resolve the pending class actions, which are now consolidated in federal court in Chicago. The agreement conditions are subject to approval by Judge John Lee of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

“We have been and will continue to be committed to student-athlete safety, which is one of the NCAA’s foundational principles,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline. “Medical knowledge of concussions will continue to grow, and consensus about diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions by the medical community will continue to evolve. This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.”

Under the proposed settlement agreement, all current and former NCAA student-athletes in all sports and divisions who competed at an NCAA member school within the past fifty years may qualify for physical examination, neurological measurements and neurocognitive assessments. The agreement covers academic accommodations for student-athletes with concussions, return-to-play guidelines, educational programs, research and plaintiffs’ attorney fees. Bodily injury claims are not part of this settlement.

A number of return-to-play guidelines, several of which have already been adopted by the NCAA, are addressed by the settlement, including:

  • Baseline concussion testing of NCAA student-athletes.
  • Student-athletes with a diagnosed concussion will not be allowed to return to play or practice on the same day, and must be cleared by a physician.
  • Medical personnel with training in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions must be present for all games and available during all practices.
  • Establish a process for schools to report diagnosed concussions and their resolution.

“From the research partnership with Department of Defense to playing rules, equipment requirements and medical best practices, the NCAA has been on the forefront of safety issues throughout its existence,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “The NCAA will continue to identify advancements to address head injuries in NCAA sports.”

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