Federal Judge Approves NCAA Concussions Settlement Providing Medical Monitoring, Improved Approach to Head Injuries
CHICAGO – A U.S. District Court judge today issued final approval of an amended settlement between the NCAA and a class of student-athletes, cementing a settlement that will provide a 50-year medical-monitoring program for student-athletes to screen for and track head injuries and concussions, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman representing the plaintiffs.
The approved settlement will also make changes to the NCAA’s approach to concussion treatment and prevention and establish a $5 million fund for concussion research.
“We are thankful to the court for granting final approval so current and former student-athletes can begin to see the settlement’s benefits, improved safety measures and monumental changes to come,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead attorney representing the class of athletes. "Having handled college cases on behalf of college-athletes whose concussions were mishandled, we have seen the lifetime devastation that results. This settlement's protocols will save lives."
In the court's order approving the settlement, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee stated, “The Court finds that the Monitoring Program and additional commitments made by the NCAA provide substantial benefits to the class in an effective and equitable manner.”
The core benefits provided in the settlement include:
- A 50-year medical monitoring program will be overseen by a medical science committee appointed by the court and will screen and track concussions. Examinations will include neurological and neurocognitive assessments to evaluate potential injuries. According to the settlement document, the monitoring program will be funded by a $70 million medical monitoring fund, paid for by the NCAA and its insurers.
- Significant changes to and enforcement of the NCAA’s concussion management policies and return-to-play guidelines. All players will now receive a seasonal, baseline test to better assess concussions sustained during the season. All athletes who have sustained a concussion will now need to be cleared before returning to play, under the terms of the settlement. Additionally, a medical professional trained in the diagnosis of concussions will be present at all contact-sport games. The settlement also stipulates reporting mandates for concussions and their treatment.
A separate research component will also be funded through $5 million dedicated by the NCAA to examine the prevention, treatment and effects of concussions.
About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.