Plaintiffs to Address Court’s Thoughtful Concerns Regarding NCAA Concussions Settlement Providing Medical Monitoring and Changed Approach to Head Injuries

SEATTLE – Attorneys representing NCAA student-athletes today recognized the Court’s concerns regarding the proposed settlement that will provide a 50-year medical-monitoring program for student-athletes to screen for and track head injuries; make sweeping changes to the NCAA’s approach to concussion treatment and prevention and establish a $5 million fund for concussion research, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee today denied plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval, but suggested areas for the parties to address, and bring the proposed settlement back for the Court’s review.

“We appreciate the time and thoughtful analysis provided by the Court, which has raised issues that the parties are in the process of addressing,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead attorney representing the class of athletes. “We continue to stand behind this historic settlement that will provide certainty, safety and measurable guidelines of player health.”

Berman added, “Judge Lee’s examination raised good points, and we are confident that we can address them to his satisfaction. Our goal is to act quickly, to ensure that these protections for student-athletes can be realized as soon as possible. It is not surprising a settlement of this complexity would be subject to changes.”

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 by the NCAA and its insurers. The Court has requested and the parties will provide the details regarding how written screening will be scored, as well as the scope of the medical evaluations and program locations.
  • 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. The Court has requested and the parties will provide the details regarding how the NCAA will implement or enforce rule protocols.

The parties are also prepared to address other concerns raised by the Court, such as the methods by which Class Members will receive notice of the Settlement, and the adequacy of the named plaintiffs as well as the student-athletes who are currently seeking to be added as class representatives for non-contact sports.

More information about this and other NCAA-related concussion cases brought by Hagens Berman is available here.


About Hagens Berman
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