NCAA rejects claims in potential class-action concussion lawsuit

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

The NCAA is currently battling in court over how it handled the head traumas of its football players in years past. Now that case could be going national and could involve thousands of plaintiffs.

Attorneys representing a head-trauma case against the NCAA asked on Friday, to a federal judge, if the lawsuit could be deemed class-action. The motion was filed in a Chicago U.S. District Court, the Associated Press reported.

This case first came about in September of 2011, when former Eastern Illinois defensive back Adrian Arrington motioned for a lawsuit against the NCAA, claiming the organization did not do enough to prevent young men from head trauma. At the time of the suit's filing Arrington claimed to be suffering from depression, significant headaches and memory loss.

Arrington was 25 when he filed the suit. In 2011, the NCAA declared Arrington's lawsuit to have "gross misstatements" about the way the organization operated in regard to concussion treatment.

On Saturday, the NCAA rejected the claims once again.

"Student-athlete safety is one of the NCAA's foundational principles," spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said, according to the Associated Press. "The NCAA has been at the forefront of safety issues throughout its existence."

Osburn said the NCAA does not believe the legal action is appropriate, adding that the organization has changed rules and equipment requirements to help prevent head injuries.

"If changes aren't made, the sport is going to slowly die," Arrington's lawyer, Joseph Siprut, said, according to the AP. "When the talent well dries up, that's how the sport dies."

The NFL is currently battling a similar lawsuit in court, one with more than 4,000 former players.

According to the Associated Press, this class-action proposal is bolstered by a report from 2010 -- an "internal NCAA survey" that shows data indicating "nearly half" of trainers in college knowingly put possibly concussed football players back into a game after coming off the field and showing signs of a concussion.

That report is what could lead a judge to allow this to go class-action, thus creating a very big and possibly very expensive case of for the NCAA. Prior to the motion request on Friday, the NCAA released a statement saying it was awarding a $399,999 grant in an effort to better understand, study and prevent long-term effects of concussions and/or other head injuries.

 
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