Ten head-injury lawsuits filed against the NCAA were consolidated into one federal class-action suit in Chicago, where a settlement was announced Tuesday. In all of the lawsuits combined, dozens of plaintiffs who said they suffered concussions playing contact sports in college are named. Here are some of their stories:
Adrian Arrington, former Eastern Illinois football player
Arrington, a strong safety at Eastern Illinois from 2006 to 2009, initiated the first lawsuit in 2011. Arrington says he suffered five concussions playing for EIU – some so severe that he couldn’t recognize his parents later in the day. In one deposition, he describes bouts of depression, memory loss, seizures and migraine headaches that made it impossible to work or to adequately care for his three young children. He never would have played college football, he insists, had he foreseen the health consequences.
Angela Palacios, former Ouachita Baptist soccer player
Palacios suffered a concussion during soccer practice at Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, when she and a teammate collided heads as they went for the ball. Days later when she said she didn’t feel well enough to practice, she says one coach reacted angrily, accusing her of not ”being a team player.” She began playing at the school in 2010, but left a year later because of head injury issues. She said she joined the lawsuit because, ”I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I went through. … The physical and emotional damages that I had to experience.”
Derek K. Owens, former Central Arkansas football player
Owens played wide receiver at Central Arkansas and also excelled academically. But after several concussions, he found he could no longer retain what he’d just studied. According to filings, ”He would study for tests, but if he went to sleep he would forget what he had studied, so he started making himself stay up all night out of fear of failing (academically).” His symptoms became so debilitating he dropped out of school in 2011, telling his mother, ”I feel like a 22-year-old with Alzheimer’s.”
Kyle Solomon, former Maine ice hockey player
Solomon suffered multiple concussions as a forward for Maine’s ice hockey team from 2008 to 2010. One happened during a nationally televised game in 2009, when he was slammed into the boards and blacked out, according to filings. After receiving seven stitches in the locker room, he returned to the game in the final period. Citing injuries, he left the team his sophomore season. In a deposition, he said his symptoms included depression, crippling migraines, short-temperedness and what he described as an ”inability to deal with everyday tasks.”
Stanley Doughty, former South Carolina football player
Doughty, a defensive tackle at South Carolina from 2003 to 2006, describes how he was returned to a 2004 game after a devastating hit left him momentarily paralyzed; he rested for just five minutes in a locker room before going back into the game. After leaving school, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs signed him as an undrafted free agent but then quickly let him go. According to court filings, they told him he had a serious spinal injury associated with helmet-to-helmet collisions.