Each of the players say they sustained brain damage from concussions while playing for the universities. Nate Chute/IndyStar
A group of former college football players is suing the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference for what they allege is inadequate concussion treatment and return-to-play rules.
In the class-action lawsuit filed this week in the U.S. District Court fo, the former athletes seek damages from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Big 12 Conference for brain injuries sustained on the field.
The plaintiffs — Cory Brandon, Kelvin Chaisson, Derrick Cherry, Jarrod Blake Roberts and Joseph Walker — played football for colleges in Texas and Oklahoma, and filed the suit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana.
“The NCAA and Big 12 specifically intended to induce a false belief in its student-athletes that they should continue to play and should not be prevented from playing their respective sports even after a concussion or several concussions that should have required time to heal,” the 60-page complaint states.
The lawsuit is one of more than 43 filed against NCAA alleging it mishandled concussion treatment, according to The Associated Press.
The latest lawsuit alleges that “defendants sacrificed player safety — including the plaintiffs’ and the class’ long-term health and well-being — in favor of profits and self-promotion.”
As the governing body of college football, the NCAA held and holds itself out as the guardian of, and ultimate authority on, player safety, wrote attorney Vincent Circelli, with Fort Worth, Texas, law firm, Circelli, Walter & Young.
“It (NCAA) unilaterally acknowledged a duty to provide all players’ safety. Player safety is supposed to be safeguarded with rules, information and best practices that protect the athletes as much as possible from short-term and long-term health risks,” Circelli states.
“But they did not, because for the past several decades the NCAA and its member conferences placed profits far ahead of player safety. ”
All the plaintiffs state that they have sustained brain damage from concussions they suffered from playing football. Brandon played football at the University of Oklahoma from 2006 to 2011; Roberts played at Texas Christian University from 2010 to 2014; Cherry played at Texas Tech University from 1994 to 1996; Chaisson played at the University of Oklahoma from 2001 to 2005; and Walker played at the University of Texas from 1997 to 2000.
The complaint’s allegations include: breach of express contract, breach of implied contract, fraudulent concealment, negligence and unjust enrichment.
Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, responded to the former football players’ complaint in an emailed statement.
“This complaint against the NCAA presents nothing new or unique to the many cases consolidated to federal court in Illinois,” Remy wrote to IndyStar. “The theories in this case, like the others, simply are not supported by the law.”
The players are seeking class certification, a monetary judgment for all actual damages, both past and future, attorney’s fees, costs of the suit and other damages.