Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former University of Kentucky student-athlete against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for failing to implement reasonable standards for the treatment of concussions.
The NCAA and the SEC failed to properly educate players of the risks and long-term effects of repeated impacts to the head and failed to provide medical treatment that could lessen the severity of head injuries sustained during play.
The plaintiff played for the University of Kentucky, a NCAA and SEC regulated team, from 2005 to 2009 as a wide receiver, punt returner, and an on special teams. The plaintiff recalls suffering concussions in both games and practices, but despite being diagnosed with head trauma, he was often told to return to play.
Specifically, the plaintiff recalls suffering a concussion in 2007 during the second quarter of a football game. During the halftime break, he began vomiting violently, but despite the severity of his symptoms, he was returned to play after halftime.
Ultimately, the plaintiff stopped playing football for the University of Kentucky because of repeated concussions sustained during games and practices. He now suffers from severe headaches, depression, mood swings, and other debilitating medical problems.
The NCAA governs more than 400,000 student-athletes with the goal of safeguarding their well being both on and off the field. According to the NCAA, “more than 1,200 schools, conferences, and affiliate organizations collectively invest in improving the experiences of student-athletes – on the field, in the classroom, and in life.”
The SEC is a major athletic conference that distributed $455 million to its fourteen member schools in 2015 alone. Despite the financial success of the SEC and the NCAA, very little care is taken to protect the wellbeing of their student-athletes, especially with regard to the monitoring, management, and mitigation of risks associated with concussions and repeated head trauma.