Law­suit filed against NCAA, Rid­dell

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ERIC OLSON

The NCAA and hel­met maker Rid­dell are de­fen­dants in separate class-ac­tion law­suits al­leg­ing they failed to pro­tect foot­ball play­ers from long-term head in­juries and didn’t ed­u­cate them about the risks.

The Fort Worth firm of Cir­celli, Wal­ter and Young filed the law­suits Mon­day in fed­eral courts in In­di­anapo­lis and San Francisco. The law­suits ask for dam­ages for health care costs, lost wages and other per­sonal in­jury dam­ages.

The Big 12 Con­fer­ence was listed as co-de­fen­dant with the NCAA. Named plain­tiffs are for­mer play­ers Cory Bran­don, Kelvin Chais­son, Der­rick Cherry, Jar­rod Blake Roberts and Joe Walker.

The Rid­dell law­suit al­leges the hel­met maker mis­rep­re­sented the safety of its hel­mets.

Cir­celli, Wal­ter and Young said all plain­tiffs in the cases suf­fer from some de­gree of trau­matic brain in­juries from mul­ti­ple con­cus­sions or se­ri­ous jolts to the head that don’t meet the di­ag­no­sis of con­cus­sion and all were in­curred while play­ing foot­ball.

The NCAA, Big 12 and Rid­dell did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Tues­day.

Heather Hugh­ston, a spokesper­son for Cir­celli, Wal­ter and Young, said the firm plans to file ad­di­tional law­suits nam­ing other col­lege sports con­fer­ences. Last year the Chicago-based law firm Edel­son PC filed more than 40 class-ac­tion law­suits against the NCAA re­lated to the han­dling of con­cus­sions by Di­vi­sion 1 foot­ball pro­grams. Those com­plaints also named col­lege con­fer­ences and, in some cases, schools.

A judge in a pre­vi­ous case ruled one large class-ac­tion con­cus­sion law­suit could not be filed against the NCAA.

In the law­suit filed against the NCAA this week, for­mer play­ers al­lege the gov­ern­ing body for col­lege sports and the Big 12 “breached their duty to pro­vide a ‘safe environment’ and specif­i­cally failed to warn play­ers of the long-term risks associated with re­peated con­cus­sive and sub-con­cus­sive hits.”

The law­suit also ac­cuses the NCAA of “fail­ing to ed­u­cate play­ers on head in­jury pre­ven­tion, fail­ing to timely im­ple­ment rules of play that would limit head in­juries, fail­ing to timely im­ple­ment re­turn to play rules af­ter con­cus­sions oc­curred, and fail­ing to cover the cost of post-col­le­giate med­i­cal care nec­es­sary as a re­sult of the de­fen­dants’ bad acts.”

The Rid­dell al­leges the hel­met maker, in its mar­ket­ing, claimed a sci­en­tific study showed its hel­mets sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the risk of con­cus­sions com­pared to other man­u­fac­tur­ers’ hel­mets. The law­suit said that study was funded by Rid­dell and the hel­met maker has been the fo­cus of on­go­ing lit­i­ga­tion as a re­sult of its claims.

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