Attorney Representing Former College Athletes in Concussion Lawsuit against NCAA Seeks Class Action Status

Chicago Attorney Joe Siprut is seeking class-action status on behalf of several former athletes, who are suing the NCAA for failing to create concussion policies that would have mitigated the damaging effects of the concussions they suffered.

One of the plaintiffs is Adrian Arrington, a former defensive back at Eastern Illinois University. The 26-year-old plaintiff alleged in a lawsuit in 2011 that NCAA officials knew as early as 2003 that multiple concussions could lead to health problems, yet chose not to require concussion policies until 2010. Arrington claimed he endured five concussions. On several times, he alleges, the team doctor cleared him to return to play one day after his injury.

“The lawsuit claims that after Arrington’s first three concussions, Eastern’s team doctor told him he could get back on the field the next day,” according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. “The team sent him to a neurologist only after he started to experience seizures, he alleges, and even then he continued to play, suffering two more concussions before leaving the team near the end of his senior season.”

In response to a NCAA mandate in 2010, EIU reportedly created a five-step process for athletes to return to play. The policy states that the student athlete must be symptom-free for 24 hours before taking the first step — light aerobic exercise — and that only one step can be taken per day. The protocol also calls for athletes to reveal after each step whether any of their symptoms have returned. Siprut has stated that one issue he has with the policy is the lack of an objective standard to determine whether the athlete has improved.

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