More than 200 concussion lawsuits are in the process of being filed against the NCAA, a plaintiff’s lawyer told Law360.
Several suits were filed in the Southern District of Indiana — which houses NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis — while more than 200 will eventually be filed, targeting schools up and down the NCAA’s membership, according to plaintiff attorney Jeff Raizner.
The suits will allege that the NCAA and its member schools were aware of the long-term damage concussive and sub-concussive hits native to the game of football would inflict upon players but did not warn players of such dangers.
“For decades, the NCAA has been aware — through its own institutional knowledge, internal research, and current medical science, among other sources of information — that severe and/or repeated head impacts can lead to long-term brain injuries,” alleged a lawsuit filed on behalf of former Cameron University football player Abe Mack IV. “Unfortunately, while the NCAA knew about the harmful and devastating effects of these sub-concussive and concussive injuries, it recklessly ignored these facts and failed to implement reasonable concussion management protocols to protect its athletes.”
According to Law360, though the suits are being filed in the Southern District of Indiana, they’re expected to be heard in Chicago under US District Judge John Z. Lee, who previously awarded a $75 million settlement, which established a $70 million fund for former college athletes to go under medical assessments and $5 million for research.
While it’s impossible at this point to state how these lawsuits will turn out, they are evidence of what many have theorized could become the great existential threat to both college and high school football: that the threat, real or perceived, of lawsuits would cause insurers to shy away from covering schools who offer football and, unable to find affordable coverage, schools would then drop football altogether rather than expose themselves fully to that liability.