College football players file suit over concussions
The fight over protecting football players from concussions is now taking center stage right here in Indianapolis.
A lawsuit now filed against the NCAA.
The suit claims the NCAA and Riddell were negligent and reckless when it came to NCAA football players with concussions.
The suit was filed by two players, John DuRocher and Darin Harris. DuRocher was a quarterback for the University of Oregon and University of Washington during 2003-2006 and experienced traumatic head hits. He now experiences frequent, severe headaches and is at increased risk for brain injury.
Harris was a strong safety for the University of Washington from 2004-2008. He also received severe hits and currently suffers severe headaches, memory loss, inability to focus, anxiety and depression.
Highlights of the lawsuit include claims the NCAA failed to do a number of things, including educate football players about the long-term, life-altering risks of head impacts. They also allege they failed to correct coaching on tackling and other aggressive plays that cause head injuries. They say the NCAA failed to implement system-wide "return to play" guidelines for student-athletes who received concussions. Finally, they claim the NCAA never provided medical monitoring to former college football players even though they knew the risks of injury. But, lawyers filing the lawsuit say Riddell and its affiliated companies also played a big role in the problem.
"They're involved in the manufacturing of the helmets and they know the safety risks are out there and don't reveal that information and allow the players and everyone else to think the helmets provide a much greater level of safety than they do and as a result the players are out there getting hit in the head time after time and not getting the protection from the helmets that they think they're getting," said Richard Shevitz, Cohen & Malad, LLP.
Lawyers say the lawsuit seeks medical monitoring - establishing a fund to allow the players to defray their medical expenses and get treatment on the front end to diffuse more serious injuries that may crop up later in life. They also want monetary damages from the NCAA and Riddell.
Eyewitness News contacted the NCAA for a response to the suit. They say they haven't received it yet and can't comment. Finally, while this lawsuit starts out with just two defendants, they're hoping to make this a class-action lawsuit open to any past NCAA football player who's suffered any type of medical conditions related to repeated concussions and head injuries.