Another Tackle for the NCAA: Ex-MSU Football Player Brings Concussion Lawsuit

The NCAA has been tackling concussion litigation for years, and on Friday, September 30, 2016, an ex-Missouri State University football player brought another concussion lawsuit to add to the NCAA’s defense list.

Richard Walker, who played football for MSU from 1976-79, suffered four traumatic brain injuries and about a dozen blackouts during his time as a student athlete. Walker filed this lawsuit in an Indiana federal court, alleging that the defendants, which include the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the NCAA, knew of and concealed the serious dangers “caused by football’s medical touchstones,” such as head trauma, concussions, and neurological injuries.

Walker’s complaint compared the impact student-athletes experience in football to “an unsecured front-seat passenger in a vehicle travelling 25 mph that strikes a wall.” Walker accuses the defendants of being aware of the long-term effects associated with these impacts and head injuries, and yet, failed to inform students of “this information to protect the lucrative business of so-called “amateur” college football.”

Walker further alleges that, as a result of the defendants’ failure to implement concussion protocols and provide student-athletes with a safe athletic environment, NCAA football players suffered from neurological diseases that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Walker points to his own conditions and notes that, since he stopped playing football, he has suffered from severe depression, increased irritability, memory loss, anxiety, inability to focus, and loss of brain function.

Walker brings this suit less than a month after the NCAA was hit with seven other concussion lawsuits in an Indiana federal court. However, these are just the recent cases; in the past year, the NCAA has spent millions to settle cases that were filed years prior. In May 2016, the NCAA settled an Illinois class action by agreeing to a $75 million settlement plan. Then, in August, the NCAA agreed to give a $1.2 million settlement to the family of a football player who died in 2011 from a head injury.

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