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  • COLLEGES

    NCAA settles head-injury lawsuit, says it will change rules

  • CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports' governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn't go nearly far enough.
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  • CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports' governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn't go nearly far enough.
    The deal, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, calls for the NCAA to toughen return-to-play rules for players who receive head blows and create a $70 million fund to pay for thousands of current and former athletes to undergo testing to determine whether they suffered brain trauma while playing football and other contact sports.
    A lead attorney for the plaintiffs who spearheaded nearly a year of talks culminating in the agreement said the provisions would ultimately improve players' safety and leave open the possibility of damage payments later.
    "I wouldn't say these changes solve the safety problems, but they do reduce the risks," Chicago attorney Joseph Siprut said. "It's changed college sports forever."
    Others strongly disagreed.
    Unlike a proposed settlement in a similar lawsuit against the NFL, this deal does not set aside any money to pay players who suffered brain trauma. Instead, athletes can sue individually for damages; the NCAA-funded tests that would gauge the extent of neurological injuries could establish grounds for doing just that.
    The settlement is primarily directed at men and women who participated in basketball, football, ice hockey, soccer, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse.
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