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Athletic Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against NCAA, SEC

Athletic Class-Action Lawsuit alleges that NCAA and SEC don't do their part to educate players regarding TMI's (Traumatic Brain Injuries).

O.J. Owens, a former safety for the Tennessee Vols, has filed an Athletic Class-Action Lawsuit lawsuit against the NCAA and the SEC. The lawsuit alleges that the NCAA showed "reckless disregard for the health and safety of generations of University of Tennessee athletes" due to a lack of education to football players about traumatic brain injuries.


The  Athletic Class-Action Lawsuit was filed by O.J. Owens, who played at Tennessee from 2000-03. Now 34, Owens played in 18 games in four seasons. He was a Parade All-American at North Stanly High School in New London, N.C. The Lawsuit was filed by the Chicago-based law firm Edelson PC and is one of 10 filed in the past two months on behalf of former college football players who say they suffer the effects of concussions. Suits were filed Wednesday on behalf of Owens and former players from Duke, Michigan and Ohio State. Duke's Derrick Lee sued the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Ohio State's Ray Griffin and Michigan's Steve Strinko both filed suits against the NCAA and the Big Ten. Owens' lawsuit claims that "during hitting drills and regular practices, Owens would make hits causing him to black out and have vision issues." It said he suffered "numerous" concussions each year and said that during Owens' time, "Tennessee failed to implement any concussion management protocols or policies. Likewise, during that time, Tennessee failed to implement any return to play guidelines." It said players were never educated on the risk of traumatic brain injury that comes from playing football. From AB: Lawsuit Targets NCAA's Lack of Response to Concussions The lawsuit says Owens now suffers from "depression, anxiety, sleeping disorders, and headaches, among other issues." The lawsuit does not name the University of Tennessee as a plaintiff, however. It claims that the NCAA and the SEC had an "obligation to supervise, regulate, and monitor the rules of the Tennessee football program and provide appropriate and up-to-date guidance and regulations to minimize the risk of long-term and short-term brain damage to Tennessee football players." Owens declined comment through a public relations firm representing Edelson PC. Owens is seeking unspecified damages, "including without limitation damages for past, present, and future medical expenses, other out of pocket expenses, lost time and interest, lost future earnings, and other damages." The SEC declined to comment on the case. The NCAA sent an e-mailed statement on the case from chief legal officer Donald Remy, who said that he believes these lawsuits are a reaction to the pending outcome of another concussion lawsuit against the NCAA. Former Eastern Illinois player Adrian Arrington sued the NCAA in 2011 over its handling of concussions. That case resulted in a proposed settlement which provided no monetary compensation for players for injuries, but called for the NCAA to create a $70 million fund for testing and monitoring former athletes for brain trauma and $5 million for concussion research. That settlement is still awaiting approval from a federal judge in Illinois. Other plaintiffs signed on to the deal, but Arrington and Jay Edelson of Edelson PC oppose the deal. "These lawsuits, all filed by the same counsel using the exact same language, are mere copycat activity of the cases he filed last month," Remy's statement said. "Failing to achieve a bodily injury component to the Arrington case settlement, it appears that counsel is attempting to extract a bodily injury settlement through the filing of these new questionable class actions. This strategy will not work. The NCAA does not believe that these complaints present legitimate legal arguments and expects that they can be disposed of early by the court." Originally Posted by Dustin Dopirak in Athletic Business  Athletic Class-Action Lawsuit - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

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