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New monitoring and brain trauma research offered by NCAA

Arizona college sports fans may not know that the National Collegiate Athletic Association filed a settlement on July 29 in federal court in Illinois for $75 million to be used for head trauma research and medical monitoring of athletes. The NCAA will reportedly provide $70 million to set up a monitoring fund and $5 million over a period not to exceed 10 years for research into concussions.

The NCAA's offer follows a suit by former athletes including a leading Illinois University defensive back. The settlement does not prevent college athletes from filing a personal suit against the NCAA. According to an attorney for one of the players, many students in a variety of sports have dropped out of school due to brain trauma.

The settlement actively seeks that schools update policies to handle brain trauma and institute guidelines that stipulate when a player can return to the sport after a head injury. Currently, schools have a plan to manage concussions only. The new guidelines will prevent players from resuming activity the same day after a concussion. It also requires medical personnel to be present at all football games in the future as well as other contact sports.

The monitoring fund allows for former players to have a neurological exam available to them. This would evaluate former athletes for chronic brain damage such as traumatic encephalopathy.

Debilitating, chronic symptoms may result from traumatic brain injury. Medical care may be ongoing if the condition progresses. Also, college athletes may be unable to continue their education or play sports again. An attorney may consider the loss in terms of financial difficulty this may cause the individual now and in the future. The attorney may assist the athlete in filing a personal injury lawsuit against their university and certain organizations in court.

Source: NPR, "NCAA Reaches $75 Million Settlement In Head-Injury Lawsuit", Eyder Peralta, July 29, 2014

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