College Football Concussion Litigation

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The Cases


Edelson PC, along with other law firms, is representing clients in personal injury lawsuits* against the NCAA, certain universities, and certain athletic conferences. We represent former student athletes suffering from concussion related symptoms and disorders like CTE, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.

The personal injury lawsuits* allege that universities, athletic conferences, and the NCAA ignored the dangers of concussions, failed to warn players of the risks, and encouraged players to return to play after suffering concussions. As a result, the lawsuits allege that universities, athletic conferences, and the NCAA are responsible for for the permanent brain injuries of countless former student athletes.


Are these lawsuits the same as the Arrington v. NCAA case I have read about in the news?

No. The Arrington case is a separate lawsuit which focuses on medical monitoring claims (not personal injury claims) and is led by a separate team of lawyers.

If I played in the NFL, and am eligible to receive compensation under the NFL Concussion Settlement, can I still participate in personal injury class action lawsuits against the NCAA and/or universities?

Yes. The NFL settlement specifically allows former players to pursue their claims agains the NCAA and/or universities.

Why would I participate in a class action instead of filing an individual lawsuit?

This is an important choice, and the answer depends on what you want to achieve with your lawsuit. Feel free to contact the lawyers at Edelson PC for an explanation of the pros and cons of each option.

Concussions and Sports

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

Contact sports like football cause frequent concussions and sub-concussive forces. Studies suggest that college football players sustain more than one thousand hits in excess of 10g-forces each season, and sometimes sustain hits in excess of 150g-forces. By comparison, an average boxing punch delivers between 10and 20 g-forces.



Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that afflicts the brains of people who suffer repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries, like football players. Symptoms of CTE include:

  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty controlling impulsive or erratic behavior
  • Impaired judgment
  • Behavioral disturbances including aggression and depression
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Gradual onset of dementia
Other Conditions

Concussions and repeated sub-concussive forces, from football and from other sports, have also been linked to a number of other conditions and a wide variety of symptoms. Linked conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • ALS and other Motor Neuron Diseases
  • Early onset dementia



A recent study detected CTE in the brains of 87 out of 91 (95.6%) former NFL players. Overall, that study group has detected CTE in 79 percent of the brains of all former football players.


Each year, between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States as a result of sports and recreational activities. Thousands of these concussions occur during NCAA sanctioned activities.


A recent study found that college football players experience six suspected concussions and twenty one more head injuries, a total of twenty seven, for every one diagnosed concussion.


Barack Obama
“I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies. You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.”
Barack Obama
Ramogi Huma
“Everyone knows football is a brutal game. But we were never aware of the full toll until the last few years.”
Ramogi Huma, President of the National College Players Association


“The NCAA admits that a founding purpose was to protect student-athletes,”
“The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes.”

Sheely v. NCAA, Case No. 380569-V (Montgomery County, MD)

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