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NCAA Sued for Failure to Educate, Disability Lawyer to the Pros, Frank N. Darras Offers Analysis

Three former college football players are suing the NCAA for their failure to educate them about the risks of concussions and not doing enough to prevent, diagnose and treat brain injuries. The suit is brought by two former Tennessee players, Chris Walker and Ben Martin, along with North Carolina State player Dan Ahern. (Former players suing NCAA over concussions, The Sports Xchange, September 6, 2013)

The class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and alleges that the NCAA failed to meet its obligation to former players and as a result they are suffering dramatic health consequences. The lawsuit also seeks an NCAA-funded medical-monitoring program for former players. See more

Prior to this news making headlines, Danny Kannell from ESPN successfully predicted that a collegiate player would shortly follow suit after the recent NFL concussion lawsuit. “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if before long we see some guys who played major college football, maybe didn’t make it to the NFL and they’re dealing with concussion issues and they start to look around and say you know what – I need some assistance. I made a lot of money for this program. Because as we all know college football is a major business; it brings in a lot of money for the university. It will not be long before there is a lawsuit with a former collegiate player going against his former collegiate university and that is when it will get really interesting,” said Kannell. (Lawsuit: NCAA failed to educate, ESPN.com, September 4, 2013)

Both the NFL and the NCAA have been under fire in recent months for their failure to recognize, screen, and treat athletes. Last month, retired Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis joined an 83-player lawsuit filed against the NFL for concussions. In a recent blog post by the Huffington Post, the NCAA’s response to concussions was called “barbaric,” and said that despite research they have yet to require a comprehensive policy on concussions for member schools.

“The truth is that the organizations governing collegiate and professional sports are simply not doing enough to educate and protect their players. They want them to play hard and win big and don’t seem as concerned about the long-term effects on their players. As long as their health is good in the short term, it doesn’t seem to matter what happens later on down the road. Informing players about disability insurance protection is a great place to start. These players are young and have the rest of their lives ahead of them. How they take care of their health now will surely affect their health later in life,” says Frank N. Darras, insurance lawyer to the pros.

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