A filing in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday notified a U.S. district judge that lawyers for former college athletes and the NCAA reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit after nearly a year of talks. Here’s a rundown:
KEY TERMS: The NCAA will fund a $70 million program to test current and former athletes for brain injuries. It’ll also establish a common return-to-play policy all schools must follow. And it agrees to mandate baseline neurological tests for athletes to help determine the severity of any concussion during the season.
WHO IS COVERED: Men and women who played football, ice hockey, soccer, basketball, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse. Both current and former players going back at least five decades who suffered concussions or suspect they did also qualify to be tested.
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ARE DAMAGES INCLUDED? No. There is no lump sum set aside to pay damages to athletes who suffered debilitating head injuries. However, plaintiffs’ lawyers reserve the right to sue for damages on behalf of individual athletes, and the NCAA-funded testing program could help identify candidates for such claims.
WHAT’S NEXT: A federal judge in Chicago must first grant preliminary approval. Before final approval, he will hear from athletes nationwide – some of whom could object to the settlement terms. It’s not unusual for a judge to order changes before giving a final OK.