The NCAA concussion settlement is losing steam. Witness the following press release put out by the NCPA:
Former Eastern Illinois University football player Adrian Arrington, lead plaintiff in the Arrington v. NCAA concussion lawsuit, terminated his relationship with his lawyer and opposes the preliminary settlement that the law firm asked the judge to approve.
Arrington released the following statement:
“The preliminary settlement is completely unacceptable and I never agreed to it. In fact, the first time I learned about it was in the media. I feel that I have been misinformed and the preliminary settlement doesn’t address the reasons I filed the lawsuit in the first place. I would like the judge to reject the preliminary settlement. I plan to secure new legal representation to continue this fight to protect future players in NCAA sports.”
Arrington sustained several concussions while playing football for Eastern Illinois and ultimately decided to stop playing football for health reasons. He often sustains seizures so powerful that his shoulder frequently dislocates during the event, and suffers from memory loss. Arrington is 28 years old, has two children, and says he is unable to secure employment because of his condition.
Arrington recently initiated contact with the NCPA to discuss the lawsuit and ways to help raise awareness among players and families from low-income communities about minimizing the risk of traumatic brain injury in contact sports.
Arrington spoke with NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma. Huma stated, “Adrian clearly has a tremendous passion for protecting young athletes. He is serious about making change and will not stand for anything less.”
During their initial conversation, Huma praised Arrington for his effort to help protect current, former, and future college athletes. Huma also shared his concerns about the shortcomings of the preliminary settlement to which Arrington’s former lawyers agreed. The preliminary settlement does not mandate rules to help minimize traumatic brain injury that were adopted on the NFL level i.e. reducing contact during practices and mandatory return-to-play protocols. In addition, the preliminary settlement does not provide players suffering from brain damage any direct financial support or funds for treatment. Meanwhile, the preliminary settlement would pay the lawyers approximately $15 million in legal fees.
Huma stated, “It is a disservice to the current and former players suffering from traumatic brain injuries sustained in NCAA sports. It is our hope that the judge rejects this preliminary settlement.”
Huma put Arrington in contact with former USC football player and filmmaker Bob DeMars who recently completed a documentary called “The Business of Amateurs”. DeMars spoke to Arrington and sent him a link that allowed him to be one of the few people to privately view the documentary. The film includes tragic concussion-related events and highlights gaps in the preliminary settlement agreed to by Arrington’s former lawyers.
DeMars stated, “Adrian appreciated the opportunity to watch the film and become more informed as he contemplated his legal options. I respect him immensely for seeking answers and for making the right call.”
Huma also connected Arrington with former Northwestern football player Kain Colter who began the effort to unionize Northwestern football players last year. The unionization effort centers largely on empowering players to establish enforceable rules to minimize the risk of traumatic brain injury.
Colter stated, “Adrian is on the right side of history. He’s doing everything he can to help protect generations of future players.”
In addition to mounting a formidable legal challenge to force NCAA sports to protect players, Arrington posted a You Tube video on May 29, 2015 to help inform players and their families about various health and safety issues college athletes face.
In the video, Arrington states, “I’m a man that went to college that wants to provide…to be out of school to have that degree that nobody can take from me, I still can’t do certain things with that degree because I have a disability in terms of seizures, memory loss…”
In its defense in the Arrington v. NCAA lawsuit, the NCAA stated, “The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes.”