For the first time, the NCAA will include a point of emphasis regarding “punishment drills” in its medical handbook as part of a settlement with the family of an Ole Miss football player who died following an offseason conditioning practice in 2010.
The point was one of several agreed to by Ole Miss and the NCAA in a lawsuit settled with the family of Bennie Abram, who died Feb. 19, 2010. The family also received $50,000, but the overwhelming bulk of the April settlement details requirements by the NCAA and Ole Miss benefitting player safety.
Ole Miss has agreed to establish a scholarship for a football walk-on as well as waive tuition for Abram's mother and two brothers. In addition, Ole Miss will prepare a video tribute to Abram and a plaque in his memory. Doctors later ruled the death due to sickle cell trait. As part of a settlement stemming from the death of a Rice player under the same circumstances, the NCAA was required to recommend testing for the trait in 2010.
Those testing recommendations came 35 years after the first documented case of a death from the trait by an NCAA football player.
Other settlement terms:
-- The NCAA's Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports will discuss “possible guidelines” regarding punishment drills. Neither the NCAA nor Ole Miss were accused of, nor was Abram alleged to have died from, a so-called punishment drill. The language was added per the discussions in the settlement.
-- The NCAA will post online the 2012 National Athletic Trainers' Association consensus statement for conditioning online at NCAA.org.
-- The NCAA will distribute no later than the 2013 preseason a “point of emphasis” regarding preseason preparation outlined in the association's Sports Medicine Handbook.
-- The NCAA will recommend a legislative proposal to require all schools to designate a team physician and require all strength coaches to be certified by a national body. (There is legislation in the NCAA pipeline to that effect.)
In addition, all full-time coaches would have to be certified in first aid and CPR. Those subject were discussed by trainers and medical professionals at January's NCAA convention.
Among the notables named in the original suit were former Ole Miss AD Pete Boone and former coach Houston Nutt.