NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Players Object to Concussion-Related Settlement

Former NCAA women’s lacrosse player Samantha Greiber filed an objection to a proposed settlement reached in class-action litigation against the NCAA over concussions. Greiber alleges she suffers from permanent brain injuries due to concussions sustained from playing lacrosse at Hofstra University. She wanted to wear a helmet to prevent, or at least, minimize her injuries, however, the NCAA currently bars female players from wearing hard helmets, but requires them for male players. Greiber objects to the proposed settlement because it would bar Women Lacrosse Players from taking further legal action to require helmets. The settlement would still allow individuals to sue their own schools and the NCAA to get helmet rule changes.

The objection states that women lacrosse players represent a particularly unique and vulnerable group of NCAA student-athletes, and they should be part of a particular subclass of plaintiffs because no class representatives could adequately represent their unique interests. Currently, the deal includes two subclasses: contact and noncontact sports. Concussions in women’s lacrosse occur at among the highest rates of any NCAA sport, similar to football. The objection explains that the NCAA has discriminated against women lacrosse players “by failing to require protective helmets for women, or to provide even the most basic education about their use and benefits.”

“[T]he NCAA bullishly refuses to mandate protective helmets for women, as it does for men, or even to educate women about them. It is sexist. It is discriminatory. And it is wrong,” Aron U. Raskas, a partner at Rifkin Weiner Livingston, commented. Greiber wrote: “The NCAA — and the NCAA alone — holds in its hands the power to protect Women Lacrosse Players by amending this Rule.”A final approval hearing to determine the fairness of the proposed settlement will be held on November 28, 2017.

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