(WBIR-Knoxville) A pair of former UT football players have joined another former college player in suing the NCAA for failing to educate them about the risks of concussions, and not doing enough to prevent, diagnose, and treat them.
Chris Walker and Ben Martin were defensive ends at UT from 2007-2011. Dan Ahern played for North Carolina State from 1972-76. Their attorney filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Chattanooga on Wednesday.
The suit asks for "the establishment of a court-supervised fund to provide medical monitoring due to their increased risk of latent brain injuries caused by repeated traumatic head impacts suffered by them in the period during which they played NCAA football."
"We're saying that they knew about the long-term problems, just like the NFL has known about it for years and years and years, and nobody wants to step up to the plate and pay for these long term problems," said Knoxville based attorney, Gordon Ball.
Ball is one of 10 attorneys listed on the suit. The lead attorney is Micheal Hausfeld of Washington D.C. Both are involved in the Ed O'Bannon case in California that is seeking damages from the NCAA for using players images for profit.
In the complaint, Walker and Martin say they had repetitive head trauma in scrimmages, practices, and games during their careers, and that they now suffer from severe headaches.
Ahern, who played for North Carolina State from 1972-1976, says in the lawsuit that he was flown from Pennsylvania to Raleigh for hospitalization after suffering a concussion in a game against Penn State during his senior year. He also claims to have an inability to concentrate, poor memory, a ringing in his ears, and sleeping problems. He has also suffered physical ailments and pain associated with these ailments leading to retirement at age 50 and disability as of 2007.
"The NCAA makes millions of dollars every year on college athletics and to not treat these people and monitor them is almost criminal in my opinion," Ball said.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit is similar to one filed in federal court against the NCAA in 2011 in Illinois. Attorneys in that case recently asked a judge to make it a class-action suit.
NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy told the AP that the NCAA has not yet had the opportunity to review and evaluate the lawsuit.
Last week, the NFL agreed to pay more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to settle lawsuits from thousands of former players who developed dementia or other concussion-related health problems they say were caused by the game.
"This case is exactly like the case that was settled last week against the National Football League," said Ball.
He said the only difference is that players are employees of the NFL and college football players are not. That means college players do not receive worker's compensation and monitoring.