Faced with several consolidated class-action lawsuits in federal court, the NCAA has agreed to spend $70 million on concussion testing and diagnosis for current and former college athletes dating back 50 years.
The settlement, announced Tuesday, will also include educational initiatives and $5 million for concussion research.
“We have been and will continue to be committed to student-athlete safety, which is one of the NCAA’s foundational principles,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline. “This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high-quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.”
If a U.S. District Court judge approves the agreement, athletes who competed at an NCAA member school over the last five decades may be eligible for a physical exam, neurological measurements and neurocognitive assessments.
The NCAA has also agreed to a series of guidelines -- some of which have already been enacted -- for diagnosis and treatment. Those guidelines state that trained medical personnel be present at games and available during practices. Athletes will undergo baseline concussion testing and, if concussed, must be cleared by a physician before returning to play.
The association said it will establish a process by which schools report concussions.
“The NCAA will continue to identify advancements to address head injuries in NCAA sports,” Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer, said.