Former football player alleges University did not enforce safety regulations in lawsuit
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Former Notre Dame cornerback Gary Gray is a complainant in a class action suit filed Oct. 4. The complaint, filed by Edelson PC, alleges Notre Dame and the NCAA had “reckless disregard for the healthy and safety of generations of Notre Dame student-athletes,” and addresses the numerous head injuries Gray, along with other former college football players, sustained while in college.
According to the complaint, both Notre Dame and the NCAA knew of the long-term dangers of concussions, but “actively concealed this information to protect the very profitable business of ‘amateur’ college football.”
Gray, who played for Notre Dame from 2007-2011, suffered a number of concussions during his time on the team, according to the complaint. As a result of Notre Dame “fail[ing] to provide appropriate medical treatment during these incidents,” Gary now suffers from mood swings, anxiety and depression.
According to the complaint, until 2010 the NCAA failed to enforce and Notre Dame failed to comply to “conduct a football program that proactively encouraged [Gray] and other Notre Dame football players to avoid head injuries.”
Instead, the complaint says the University and the NCAA compelled players to ignore concussion symptoms and continue to play football within moments of experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
In Gray’s case in particular, the complaint says Notre Dame coaches “demanded that Notre Dame football players … forgo their own self-interest and continue playing despite sustaining head injuries.”
Additionally, the complaint alleges the University failed to contact Notre Dame football players after they left the University about their being exposed to an increased risk of long-term brain damage.
According to the complaint, the NCAA did not acknowledge the dangers of concussion in its Sports Medicine handbook — a book produced annually outlining the NCAA’s official policies and guidelines for the treatment and prevention of sports-related injuries, as well as return-to-play guidelines — until 1994, and the treatment protocol for member institutions was left up to the individual school. Notre Dame did not have “adequate” concussion-related safety measures until 2010, which the complaint alleges was a failure of the University’s obligation to help protect the health and safety of its student-athletes.
The complaint brings forth several charges against both Notre Dame and the NCAA, including negligence, fraudulent concealment, breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment.
According to the complaint, Gray is seeking damages.
The complaint is the latest in a series of complaints filed by Edelson PC on behalf of former football players suffering from the long-lasting effects of concussions. The firm has filed 43 such suits since May.