Former College Basketball Player Sues NCAA Over Concussions

June 24, 2014

A former college basketball player is suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association, alleging that it failed to protect college athletes from the long-term effects of concussive head injuries.

James Cunningham asserts that he suffers "from constant headaches, memory loss, dizziness, severe depression, speech impediments, panic disorder, anxiety, mobility issues, irritability, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and panic disorder," according to a complaint filed June 20. Cunningham was a member of the Arizona State University and University of Tulsa basketball teams in the mid-1990s.

"Mr. Cunningham did not suffer from these conditions prior to incurring the concussions while playing NCAA basketball," the complaint reads. "In addition to his severe medical conditions which require constant treatment and monitoring, Mr. Cunningham is at an increased risk of developing latent brain injuries or additional neurodegenerative disorders."

Cunningham alleges that the NCAA was aware of "mounting literature and medical advice" about concussive injuries in college sports. He is seeking $75,000 in damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligence, and fraudulent concealment.

While previous lawsuits and media attention has tended to focus on the injuries sustained by football players, concussions are a danger for college athletes in many types of sports. In October, a Samford University soccer player also sued the NCAA, arguing that the association did not do enough to educate athletes on the dangers of head trauma.

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