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Settlement proposed in college athlete brain injury suit

A settlement has been proposed in a class action suit involving college athletes and head injuries. According to reports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has agreed to the settlement, which would involve the creation of a fund worth $70 million to cover the costs for testing of thousands of college athletes, both current and present.

The athletes, who participated in contact sports such as football during college, would be tested for brain injury. According to reports, the proposed settlement comes after almost a year of discussions. An attorney for the plaintiffs in the case said the hope is that the provisions of the settlement will increase player safety. He said the provisions don't solve the problem completely, but he believes they will reduce risks.

There are detractors to the proposed settlement. According to reports, the settlement would not make provisions for any injured players. Instead, players who have suffered brain injuries can sue individually for compensation of medical expenses, pain and suffering or other damages.

One attorney who disagrees with the settlement stated that he believes a class action suit on the part of injured players could be worth as much as $2 billion. The proposed settlement would not propose a time limit for testing. Any college athlete who participated in certain sports, including soccer, lacrosse, football, basketball, wrestling or ice or field hockey, could be tested whether the player is active now or played decades ago.

If testing shows that brain injury is present, individual players may move forward with lawsuits. In the current settlement, the NCAA does not admit to any wrongdoing, but that does not mean suits would be unsuccessful. In any injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must work to prove that an injury is present and was the fault of another party's actions or negligence. Such cases involve gathering evidence of the injury and making a legal case through documents or in court.

Source:  New Jersey Herald, "NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules" Michael Tarm, Jul. 29, 2014

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