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Volume 26 No. 231
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Judge On NCAA Concussion Case Settlement Perplexed Why Non-Contact Sports Included

A federal judge "raised concerns Thursday about some elements" of the NCAA's proposed $75M settlement regarding concussions in college sports, according to Jon Solomon of CBSSPORTS.com. Plaintiffs lawyer Steve Berman, who wants to get the agreement approved, on Thursday after a hearing said that U.S. District Judge John Lee's "major issue appears to be whether non-contact sport athletes should be part of the settlement." The NCAA "reached a preliminary settlement in July" that would create a $70M fund to "test thousands of current and former athletes for brain trauma" and put aside $5M for research. The settlement "would cover only diagnostic medical expenses, not actual treatment -- a criticism some people have of the deal." Athletes "would preserve their rights to individually sue universities, conferences or the NCAA for personal-injury damages and waive their claims collectively." The proposed class "consists of about 4.2 million current and former college athletes, with 717,000 from football, 1.1 million from other contact sports, and 2.4 million from non-contact sports" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/23). The AP's Michael Tarm reported Lee, "facing a crowd of attorneys" in the courtroom, "wondered why college sports like rifle teams, swimming and golf would be covered by the proposed agreement along with football and other contact sports." He said, "I'm going to assume there aren't a lot of risks of concussions in rifling." Tarm noted the settlement "is primarily directed at men and women who participated in basketball, football, ice hockey, soccer, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse." There "is no cutoff date for when athletes must have played a designated sport at one of the more than 1,000 NCAA member schools to qualify for the medical exams" (AP, 10/23).