What little boy doesn’t want to grow up to be just like his favorite sports hero? Any child who understands the risks that players take for their long-term well-being every time they step out onto the football stadium might not. A full-contact sport, American football isn’t just about fun and competition, and there are many risks involved. Although it seems like players get paid to play a fun game, they receive exuberant amounts of money to play because of the risks they take.
Last Wednesday, the NCAA was hit with seven complaints from former collegiate-level football players who insist that the league failed to protect them from sustaining concussions. These are not the first complaints against the multi-billion dollar establishment; in fact, these lawsuits are just the latest of a total of twenty two cases initiated against league officials.
Former collegiate football players are filing complaints that, due to negligence, they are suffering from long-term health problems from sustaining concussions while out on the playing field. The long-term effects of a concussion are just beginning to gain recognition, and many former players feel that if they had known the risks, they may not have played, or at least would have stopped playing, instead of continually getting injured.
The athletes insist that, not only were they not given the proper information about the seriousness of concussions, but also that the information about the long-term effects of being repeatedly hit in the head was hidden from them. They believe that they were intentionally not given the information necessary to make the right decisions about their playing or their risks, due to the NCAA’s profit-driven motives.
The entire reason that the NCAA was originally formed was to protect players and ensure the safety of college football. Athletes who played in college just assumed that the organization had their best interests at heart, but now they’re beginning to question its motives.
The new cases have been filed in a federal court in Indiana. The players making the allegations are from Murray State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Kentucky, Florida State University, the University of Miami, and the University of Florida. Also named in the suit are the Ohio Valley Conference, the Athletic Coast Conference, the Big East Conference, and the Southeastern Conference.
The NCAA insists that the allegations made against them are false. They maintain that the arguments made are not legitimate and that the cases will be thrown out early on. The class action case from the new plaintiffs comes on the heels of a recent suit against the NCAA by Adrian Arrington, who ultimately received a $75 million settlement.
Adrian Arrington, however, excluded compensation for any personal injury claims, and the new class action lawsuit will seek personal injury compensation. The players’ major complaints include sleeplessness, difficulty controlling their emotions, headaches, poor concentration, and a host of other issues that are known to result from traumatic brain injuries. Recent preliminary research is showing a link between repeated concussions and the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The NCAA is not only insisting that the suits are baseless, but they also maintain that there simply is not enough conclusive evidence that concussions can cause the long-term effects the suit is based on. Since the science is not accepted as fact, they had no legal obligation to warn the players of something that has not been proven.
They also allege that the players did know that football is a dangerous sport, and that they could have opted not to play when injured at any time. They say the personal choice was made by the player and not the organization, therefore, they hold no personal liability for the injuries sustained by the players. While lots of Los Angeles brain injury attorneys agree that there needs to be a better system to educate players but at the same time, there is a conscious decision to play the game, knowing there are safety risks to the players.
There are hazards in any line of work, and this is a particularly complex personal injury lawsuit. The law, however, dictates that those who work in any industry must be warned about the potential hazards of what their job entails. If the NCAA knew of the risks involved in concussions and never gave the players the necessary information, they just may be on the hook for another settlement. This time, it may pack a much harder punch to the organization.