Category Archives: College

Settlement Reached Between Student Athlete and University in Concussion Litigation

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the April issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To subscribe, visit the following link – http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A confidential settlement agreement has reportedly been reached between the parties in Walen v. Portland State University, et al., in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, No. 14CV12218.

While the financial terms weren’t disclosed, attorneys for plaintiff Zachary Walen noted that Portland State University (PSU) has agreed to update the concussion policy used by its sports medicine staff. The changes reportedly include:

  1. The risk of developing post-concussion syndrome will be included in the education provided to student-athletes and the training provided to coaches and staff.
  2. The training of coaches and staff will include an explanation regarding the concussion healing process, which depending on the student athlete’s condition, can take weeks and possibly longer.
  3. Student-athletes will be informed of their right to seek, at their own cost, a return-to-play opinion from a physician who is not a member of the PSU Sports Medicine Staff. The most conservative opinion will be followed. All student-athletes will be informed of this option during the education provided to student-athletes.
  4. At the student-athlete’s request and with his or her consent, the parent(s) of a concussed student-athlete will be informed if their son or daughter has been diagnosed with a concussion and when the student-athlete has been cleared to return to full sport participation. All student-athletes will be informed of this option during the education provided to student-athletes.

The initial injury to Walen, who sought $5 million in damages, occurred on opening day in September of 2012 during the linebacker’s first game as a Viking. It is uncontested that in the fourth quarter of that game that Walen suffered a head injury after a direct blow to the head. Though coaches and staff allegedly failed to identify the concussion in the aftermath of the hit, Walen’s parents brought him to the hospital shortly after the game, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

The plaintiff alleged in his complaint that …

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U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald, Olympic Gold Medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar, and Super Bowl Champion Phil Villapiano pledge brains to Concussion Legacy Foundation

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert A. McDonald, three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, and former Oakland Raiders linebacker and Super Bowl champion Phil Villapiano pledged earlier this week to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which collaborates with the VA and Boston University as part of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank.

The announcements of Villapiano and Hogshead-Makar were planned as part of the VA-hosted Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion, a public-private partner event which brought together many of the most influential voices in the field of brain health to identify and advance solutions for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Secretary McDonald’s announcement was not planned for the event.

“As I listened to the very powerful personal stories from Veterans and the challenges the world’s top researchers are working to overcome in TBI, I made a decision: I decided to join the hundreds of Veterans and athletes who have already donated their brain to the VA Brain Bank so that I may, in a small way, contribute to the vital research happening to better understand brain trauma,” said Secretary McDonald. “This is a very, very serious issue, one that affects Veterans and non-Veterans alike. I’m proud to do my part because I know that the researchers at VA are committed to improving lives and they have my full support.”

The pledges were made as part of the Foundation’s My Legacy campaign, which encourages athletes to leave their legacy by helping solve the concussion crisis through brain donation or other means. Villapiano pledged in honor of his former teammate, Hall of Famer Ken Stabler, who died in 2015 and was diagnosed with CTE at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank. He joins former Oakland Raiders teammates George Atkinson, Art Thoms, and George Buehler, who pledged last month.

“I’d go back and smash my head into anybody, any time. I loved that kind of stuff. Little did I know what has happening inside our heads,” Villapiano said. “Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a big problem and all of my friends are scared to death.”

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Repository on Sports Concussion Complaints Updated

The following documents are now available to Concussion Litigation Reporter subscribers:

Paul Montador v. NHL Complaint
Jeffrey Lance Cruce v. The Berkeley County School District Complaint
Crystal Dixon et al. v. Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc. et al. Ruling

Visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/concussion-litigation-reporter-documents/ to access them.

 

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