While many college football fans continue to discuss and debate the new playoff postseason system put in place by the NCAA this season, former University of Texas Tight End and Offensive Lineman Julius Whittier is fighting a much bigger issue surrounding this sport: traumatic brain injuries. In August 2012, Whittier was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease which he attributed to repeated traumatic brain injuries he sustained while playing football at the University of Texas from 1969 to 1972. In a pending class action suit filed on behalf of all former NCAA football players who played from 1960 to 2014, Whittier asserts that the NCAA breached its duty to protect college football players from long-standing risks of brain injury and brain trauma and further asserts that by denying or omitting to act upon these risks, the athletic organization has further profited monetarily. This lawsuit follows a preliminary settlement entered into earlier by the NCAA which resulted in the organization paying $75 million to provide concussion testing to current and former NCAA players. However, even in a sports climate in which many former athletes have started to reveal the negative permanent effects of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, the NCAA, in addition to the NFL and the NHL professional sports leagues, has yet to provide for treatment of any former players afflicted with these injuries.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are not problems that affect only collegiate and professional athletes. Many amateur athletes are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of unsafe athletic equipment or improper and unsafe conduct exhibited by other athletes every year. If you or somebody you know has sustained a concussion or other traumatic brain injury due to the negligent acts of another, please contact our offices at 317-578-2100 for a free initial consultation.