NCAA agrees to settle head injury lawsuit with $70 million in concessions

In what has made news nationwide, the NCAA has agreed to settle a head injury lawsuit by providing $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of current and former student-athletes.

The class-action agreement, if approved by a federal judge and class members, applies to student-athletes in all sports who have played at NCAA member schools at any time in the past until 50 years in the future.

Former Maine player Kyle Solomon joined the lawsuit in 2013.

Solomon, who reportedly suffered four concussions while at Maine, said in February 2013 that plaintiff attorney Steve Berman’s law firm told him it wanted to “change the NCAA’s return-to-play policy and thought my situation at UMaine would be a good example. It wasn’t that [my concussions] weren’t treated. But they weren’t treated as seriously as they should have been because the NCAA didn’t have a [strong enough] rule in place.

“This is nothing against … Maine hockey. It was an honor to play for Maine. I loved playing for them. It was a shame it had to stop.”

The settlement does not include bodily injury claims, which Berman said should be handled on an individual basis.

“The whole goal of my clients is to change the way the NCAA handles concussions,” Berman told the Bangor Daily News. “We’re very hopeful this will cut down on the number of concussions and people returning to play too early.”

U.S. District Judge John Lee is not expected to make a decision on whether to grant the settlement preliminary approval until sometime in August, Berman added.

The settlement also calls for the NCAA to contribute $5 million for concussion research.