The NCAA has reached a settlement with former athletes that provides $75 million for medical monitoring and research into head injuries. The settlement also calls for a change in the way schools handle head trauma.
As USA Today explains, the NCAA currently requires that member schools only have a concussion management plan. The settlement would require schools to make changes to their policies and "institute return-to-play guidelines."
" 'This offers college athletes another level of protection, which is vitally important to their health,' said the lead plaintiffs' lawyer, Steve Berman. 'Student-athletes — not just football players — have dropped out of school and suffered huge long-term symptoms because of brain injuries. Anything we can do to enhance concussion management is a very important day for student-athletes.'
"The settlement, which was filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois on Tuesday morning and still requires the approval of Judge John Z. Lee, would establish a medical monitoring fund similar in some ways to the one proposed recently by the N.F.L. and the N.F.L. Players Association. It would give all former college athletes a chance to receive a neurological screening to examine brain functions and any signs of brain damage like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.
"The N.C.A.A. would also prevent athletes who have sustained a concussion from returning to a game or practice that day. Trained medical personnel would be required at all contact sports events like football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer and wrestling."
The Chicago Tribune spoke to attorney Joseph Siprut, who represents former Eastern Illinois University defensive back Adrian Arrington, one of the athletes who brought suit against the NCAA.
Siprut told the newspaper that the settlement does not prevent individual athletes from bringing suit against the NCAA.
"We intend to continue prosecuting those claims on behalf of Adrian and our other clients," he told the Tribune.
Update at 11:32 a.m. ET. The $75 Million Number:
The $75 million included in the settlement comes from two places: The NCAA and its insurers agreed to pay $70 million to create the Medical Monitoring Fund, and they have also agreed to contribute — "or cause to be contributed" — $5 million over a period of not more than 10 years to "research the prevention, treatment, and/or effects of concussions."