Former Eastern Illinois safety Adrian Arrington, who is the lead plaintiff in a class-action concussion lawsuit against the NCAA, fired his lawyer and said he never agreed to the settlement proposal that is currently being considered.
An initial settlement plan was rejected by U.S. District Judge John Lee in December, who said it was unclear in some sections and that the dollar amount proposed was potentially insufficient. Lee then ordered both sides to attempt to reach a different settlement.
The original lawsuit called for the NCAA to create a $70 million fund to test current and former athletes in contact and non-contact sports for trauma caused by brain injuries. It also wanted the NCAA to strengthen its return-to-play rules after an athlete suffers a concussion.
“The preliminary settlement is completely unacceptable and I never agreed to it. In fact, the first time I learned about it was in the media,” Arrington said in a statement released by the National College Players Association. “I feel that I have been misinformed and the preliminary settlement doesn’t address the reasons I filed the lawsuit in the first place. I would like the judge to reject the preliminary settlement.”
No financial terms were ever released in the new proposed deal, which does not give any players who suffered brain injuries class-action money. Instead, it allows athletes to sue individually for damages.
The first lawsuit was filed in 2011 by four plaintiffs, including Arrington, who said that he suffered five concussions during his career, with some so severe that he couldn’t recognize his parents in the aftermath. Nine other lawsuits have been filed since then, but have consolidated into one case.
Arrington, now 28 with two children, says he is unable to work because of his condition. He says he suffers from memory loss and has seizures so strong that it causes shoulder dislocations.
“Adrian clearly has a tremendous passion for protecting young athletes. He is serious about making change and will not stand for anything less,” NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma said. “It is a disservice to the current and former players suffering from traumatic brain injuries sustained in NCAA sports. It is our hope that the judge rejects this preliminary settlement.”
- Scooby Axson