The NCAA has settled the class-action lawsuit against them regarding athletes who have suffered brain trauma or other significant head injuries in the past by establishing a $70 million fund.
The money will go towards diagnosing current and former collegiate athletes who have felt they have suffered a significant head injury in the past. The NCAA also has pledged $5 million towards research for concussions. The fund will cover athletes in all contact sports, most notably football. There also will be a return-to-play policy that has been created to enforce schools to make sure an athlete is legitimately cleared to play before returning to the field, court or ice. The money will help create new ways of testing athletes to ensure they are safe enough to return to play.
“Changes were necessary to preserve the talent well of kids that feeds the game of football,” Joseph Siprut, who is the lead plaintiffs’ attorney, said Tuesday, according to ESPN. “Absent these kinds of changes, the sport will die.”
The one drawback of the settlement is that there will be no money set aside to pay for players who have previously suffered brain trauma. With that being said, those players have the right to sue the NCAA on an individual basis to receive the money they are properly owed.
Even though it is unfortunate there is no money immediately for the players to help pay for medical bills, there is no question the NCAA has done right by the players as a whole. This is a huge step in the right direction in eliminating head trauma in college sports. It is true that safety is still a huge issue, and the settlement by no means makes contact sports safer to play. However, at least the NCAA is recognizing where they have gone wrong and are fixing it.
“I wouldn’t say these changes solve the safety problems, but they do reduce the risks,” Siprut said. “It’s changed college sports forever.”