Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association (NCPA), an advocacy group comprised of more than 17,000 current and former college athletes, said last week that NCAA football has “chosen to focus on a playoff payday,” instead of “players’ brains.”
Huma said that “the NCAA and conference commissioners are doing nothing to reduce the risk of serious brain trauma that these and other football players face each time they suit up. There are ways to minimize health risks associated with concussions.”
The NCPA Players Council, a steering committee comprised of current and former FBS football players, developed the Concussion Awareness and Reduction Emergency (CARE) Plan to reduce the risk of brain trauma, and provide much needed research and support for former college athletes participating in contact sports.
“Our plan can help protect players’ long-term health,” said Rashard Hall, a member of the NCPA’s Players Council who recently played his final football game for Clemson. “There should be no higher priority for NCAA football.”
The NCPA claimed that “there have been no visible reform efforts since Owen Thomas committed suicide while playing football for Penn in 2010. A postmortem examination revealed that he had CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive brain trauma. A number of former NFL players who unexpectedly committed suicide were also found to have had CTE.”
The association further maintained that, other than the PAC-12 Conference, “all FBS conferences and the NCAA have ignored the NCPA’s request to discuss the CARE Plan.”
Said Huma: “While we see movement on concussion reform in the NFL and Pop Warner football, NCAA football has been asleep at the wheel. Those who run college football seem to be running from this serious issue.”
The NCPA CARE Plan recommends the following:
1. Reduce contact during practices.
2. Require independent concussion experts to be present during competitions.
3. Freeze the maximum number of regular season games.
4. Long-term monitoring and data collection of former college athletes that have participated in contact sports.
5. Support for former college athletes suffering from degenerative brain conditions associated with participation in college athletics.
6. Warn student-athletes in contact sports about CTE and degenerative brain conditions associated with contact sports as called for by the Sports Legacy Institute.