By Ken Reed

In a preliminary agreement, the NCAA has agreed to settle a concussion lawsuit by funding research and testing, as well as establishing new safety policies.

If the settlement receives final approval from the judge overseeing the case, a $70 million fund will be established to test current and former athletes in contact sports to determine if they suffered brain injuries from playing their sports.

Perhaps most importantly, the settlement requires that every NCAA member school has the same return-to-play guidelines regarding potential brain injuries suffered during competition. Previously, return-to-play guidelines were left up to individual schools, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

An internal NCAA survey done in 2010 found nearly half of college trainers put athletes with signs of brain injuries back into the same game. The outcome of that action can be long-term neurological damage and even death.

“I wouldn’t say these changes solve the safety problems, but they do reduce the risks,” said Joseph Siprut, the lead plaintiffs’ attorney. “It’s changed college sports forever.”

Let’s hope that’s the case.

Of note, the NCAA settlement doesn’t set aside money to pay players who suffer brain injuries during NCAA competition. It allows individual athletes to sue the NCAA for damages on their own.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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