Christopher Powell, a former University of Kansas fullback from 1990-94, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for failing to protect athletes from the dangers related to concussions, brain injury and brain trauma.
Post-graduation, Powell alleges he experienced neurologic and cognitive defects, is at increased risk of latent brain injuries caused by repeated head trauma, and is currently in need of medical monitoring. He also alleges that the NCAA ignored multiple studies, spanning decades, which documented the dangers of having athletes return to play too quickly after a concussion.
“Over the past four decades, the NCAA has actively concealed any correlation between on-field concussions, its return-to-play policies and the chronic mental illness and maladies suffered by former college football players,” the petition states. The lawsuit includes charges of negligence, fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment, the suit states that the NCAA brings in more than $750 million in revenue a year.
“Mr. Powell’s primary concern, and the principal purpose for the lawsuit, is to protect him and other student-athletes that played football in the NCAA from future harms associated with concussions,” said a statement issued by his attorney. “The goal is to force the NCAA to implement medical monitoring for Mr. Powell and the class that would enable timely identification and treatment for future cognitive harms when, and if, they occur.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to create a court-supervised and NCAA-funded medical monitoring program for former college football players to provide early diagnoses and treatment for those who develop neurodegenerative disorders as a result of having played football. “They have failed to establish known protocols to prevent, mitigate, monitor, diagnose and treat brain injuries,” the lawsuit states. “As knowledge of the adverse consequences of head impacts in football has grown, the NCAA has never gone back to college football players to offer education or needed medical monitoring.”
Apart from being negligent, Powell also blames the NCAA for failing to provide post-collegiate financial aid to former players who are forced to deal with the consequences of head trauma.