Federal Judge Pre-Approves NCAA Concussion Settlement
On Thursday, July 14, 2016, an Illinois federal judge granted preliminary approval of a $75 million settlement for concussion-related personal injury claims brought by a class of student-athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee said he expects the settlement to be finalized next year after further resolution of issues between the two parties.
Seventy million of the settlement will be used to fund a 50-year medical monitoring program to screen student-athletes for head injuries. The remaining $5 million will go to a fund examining prevention, treatment, and effects of concussions. Steve Berman, the lead attorney representing the class of student-athletes, said this is a “historic settlement” that will benefit an estimated 4.4 million current and former student-athletes. Berman said the certainty, safety, and measurable guidelines of player health resulting from the settlement will greatly benefit future student athletes as well.
Under the settlement, there will be a pre-season baseline test for all student-athletes in order to better assess the effects of potential concussions sustained during the season. Additionally, all student-athletes who sustain a concussion will need to be cleared before returning to play, and medical professionals with expertise in diagnosing concussions will be present during all games in contact sports.