Raizner Slania filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former University of Pittsburgh football player against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Athletic Conference (AAC) for their reckless disregard for the health and well-being of student athletes.
The plaintiff played college football for Pittsburgh as a fullback from 2005 to 2009. He remembers suffering a number of concussions during both practice and games while playing on behalf of the university. The plaintiff frequently sustained concussive and sub-concussive impacts to the head, some which caused him to black out during play.
Since the inception of Pittsburgh’s football program, through at least 2010, there were no adequate concussion management protocols or policies in place to address and treat concussions sustained by student-athletes during practice and in games. Although the plaintiff sustained repetitive hits to the head during practices and games played for their profit and promotion, the NCAA and the AAC failed to adopt or implement adequate concussion management safety protocols or return to play guidelines during his time on Pittsburgh’s football team.
As a result, the plaintiff now suffers from depression, light sensitivity, memory loss, and other debilitating issues.
Unfortunately for student-athletes, the effects of repeated concussions are not always immediately apparent. Symptoms can take years or even decades to manifest, but brain damage sustained during their years playing college football will be permanent. When a person suffers a concussion, the brain is often stretched, torn, and/or bruised. This kills brain cells called neuronal cells, which in turn releases a protein that can further damage the brain. There is no way to stop or reverse the damage caused by repeated concussions.
Although evidence linking repeated head impacts to long-term side effects has existed for decades, the NCAA failed to properly educate student athletes of the effects they could suffer later in life as a result of their time playing football in college.