NCAA to settle head injury suit with $70 million fund

Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:31pm EDT
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By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The NCAA has agreed to settle a head injury lawsuit by providing $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of student athletes in a move to change the way colleges address sports safety, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

The class-action agreement, if approved by a federal judge and class members, would apply to student athletes in all sports who played at schools regulated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at any time in the past and up to 50 years into the future.

The proposed NCAA settlement comes about three weeks after a federal judge's preliminary approval of an open-ended settlement between the National Football League and thousands of former players.

While the money in the NFL settlement was intended to resolve all of the personal injury claims for the plaintiffs' out of pocket damages, Tuesday's proposed NCAA settlement was designed to pay only for research and a medical monitoring program.

"This is about as good as we could have hoped to do at trial," Joseph Siprut, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Reuters of the proposed agreement.

"If the settlement is approved, overnight it's going to change the way sports are played."

The settlement does not include bodily injury claims, which lead plaintiff's attorney Steve Berman said should be handled on an individual basis. He said the settlement is aimed at protecting student athletes on the field.

"The whole goal of my clients is to change the way the NCAA handles concussions," Berman said. "We're very hopeful this will cut down on the number of concussions and people returning to play too early."   Continued...