Two former college football players “hit” the NCAA with another concussion case. This comes just one week after it agreed to mediate concussion claims in another pending case. All told, the NCAA now has three potential class action suits pending against it regarding concussion claims.
Former Washington and Oregon quarterback, John DuRocher, and former Washington safety, Darin Harris, filed the suit in an Indiana federal court. They are seeking over $5 million in damages for the repeated head injuries they sustained while playing. According to them, these injuries occurred despite reassurances that they were playing in a protected environment. The injuries have resulted in post-college, ongoing medical treatment that has been, and will continue to be, required.
The suit also names helmet manufacturer Riddell and its parent company. Riddell is currently at the center of a controversy about its helmets. A new book, “League of Denial”, discusses Riddell’s use of flawed NFL research to manufacture and sell a special helmet for children. The company claimed the helmet would dramatically reduce concussions in children. However, the Federal Trade Commission investigated those claims and said they were false.
The players contend that the class of plaintiffs could include hundreds, maybe even thousands, of players. They say it is “unjust to allow the NCAA to earn revenues and retain the benefits of athletes’ services while refusing to pay medical expenses of sports-related injuries whose treatment is required post college career.”
The NCAA’s chief legal officer said the suit “appears to use language and raise issues similar to the prior class action complaints filed. It is not unusual to see competing class action-styled complaints filed as plaintiff’s attorneys try to secure a lead position in consolidated litigation.” Additionally, the NCAA said, just as the other cases, the allegations here are “misleading and erroneous.”
As the other two cases are proceeding, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation could consolidate the three cases.