Fatal College Football Brain Injury Case Settles for $1.2M

Bloomberg Law’s combination of innovative analytics, research tools and practical guidance provides you with everything you need to be a successful litigator.

By Martina Barash

Aug. 8 — The parents of a college football player who suffered a fatal brain injury have reached a $1.2 million settlement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a helmet maker and other defendants ( Sheely v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, Md. Cir. Ct., No. 380569-V, settlement announced 8/8/16 ).

This “is the first brain-injury case that the NCAA has agreed to pay a significant amount of money to resolve,” attorney Kenneth McClain, who represents the late Frostburg State University student Derek Sheely's parents, said in a statement Aug. 8.

Sheely died of head traumas suffered over several consecutive days of full-contact football practices, which ultimately caused a brain herniation and an acute subdural hematoma, according to an amended complaint in the case.

The payment will go to a foundation established by Sheely's parents, according to the NCAA and the parents' attorneys.

The settlement also includes awareness and research initiatives to be funded by the NCAA and Frostburg State.

“While the settlement acknowledges no admission of liability by the NCAA, the NCAA believes this settlement will help the foundation advance research and education in the prevention of traumatic brain injury,” Donald Remy, the NCAA's chief legal officer, said in a statement by the organization Aug. 8.

“As a leader in promoting enhanced safety in college sports, the NCAA is firmly committed to fostering greater understanding of student-athlete well-being,” Remy said.

Attorneys for helmet maker Kranos Corp., doing business as Schutt Sports, couldn't be reached for comment.

Two coaches and an athletic trainer were also defendants in the Montgomery County Circuit Court suit.

The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $50,000 payout to the Derek Sheely Foundation July 27 (44 PSLR 799, 8/1/16).

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina S. Barash in Washington at mbarash@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com and Jeffrey D. Koelemay at jkoelemay@bna.com

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Request Litigation on Bloomberg Law