BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a game changer for college athletes. The NCAA may pay a $70 million price tag to try and protect student athletes from brain injuries and help former athletes who may already be suffering. It’s all part of a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit filed against the organization by players and former players.
Meghan McCorkell has more on how it could help prevent serious injuries.
If the settlement is approved, the NCAA could pay for concussion testing for athletes from the past 50 years—that’s about 40 million people.
In August, 2011, Frostburg State football player Derek Sheely died during practice. His parents say coaches bullied him to get back on the field, despite a concussion. They spoke out in a student video.
“He had sustained so much head trauma in one week that he passed away,” they said.
Now steps are being taken to prevent another tragedy. The NCAA may foot the bill for concussion testing for current and former athletes. They’re also tightening up school policies requiring pre-season testing and banning athletes from returning to play the same day they get a head injury.
It’s a move Ravens team physician Dr. Andy Tucker says is critical.
“If a concussion is diagnosed, you’re done for the day, whether it be practice or game,” he said. “And that needs to be reinforced, not only with the athletes but with the coaches.”
Under the guidelines, students would need to be cleared by a physician. Medical staff must be present at all games and available for practices, and a process would be instituted for schools to report concussions.
Some local colleges have already taken steps to protect student athletes from the dangers of concussions.
Towson University head football coach Rob Ambrose say the proposed rules make sense.
“It’s stuff that we at Towson have been doing for a couple years now but it’s good to see that everybody else is going to be mandated to follow suit,” Ambrose said.
Policies that could ultimately save lives.
Sheely’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NCAA.
The settlement does not require the NCAA to pay any medical expenses. A federal judge is expected to rule on the proposed settlement in September.
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