NCAA Concussion Settlement Denied

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On Wednesday, December 17,  federal  Judge John Lee denied preliminary approval of the proposed concussion settlement between the NCAA and the class of current and former NCAA athletes.

The settlement was submitted at the end of July  and proposes $70 million to fund medical monitoring and testing of injured athletes.  The deal also sets aside $5 million for concussion-related research.  The judge denied the settlement, however, taking issue with several aspects of the deal.  The judge expressed concern that $70 million simply would not be enough to fund 50 years of medical monitoring.  The judge also took issue with the penalties the NCAA would be able to impose under the agreement on players who violate the return-to-play guidelines.

Judge lee noted it is “a significant step” but that the parties need to continue negotiations to settle a number of issues.  The deal does not address what kind of legal redress players would have against the NCAA or a member school for failing to follow the terms of the settlement.  The settlement requires concussion-trained medical staff at all contact sport games and practices, however, more than half of the members of the class play non-contact sports.

While the plaintiffs who agreed to the settlement are confident they can address the questions raised by Judge Lee, the objecting plaintiffs do not expect much to change in the next proposal.  One attorney plans to file a series of class actions, naming individual universities instead.  The goal is to help players with

“real injuries seeking actual damages.”

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