AUSTIN (KXAN) — Representatives of a former University of Texas football player filed a class action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of collegiate sports. Julius Whittier played offensive line and tight end for the Longhorns from 1969-1972.
According to court documents, Whittier, 64, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. During his college career he experience repeated traumatic head impacts.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday by Julius’s sister, Mildred Whittier, on his behalf. The suit was filed by Dwight E. Jefferson from Coats Rose Yale Ryman and Lee, P.C. The plaintiff is demanding up to $50 million.
In the lawsuit, the personal injury class is defined as:
All former NCAA football players residing in the U.S. who played from 1960-2014 who did not go on to play professional football in the NFL and who have been diagnosed with a latent brain injury or disease.
The lawsuit goes on to state that the “NCAA failed to educate its football-playing athletes of the long term, life-altering risks and consequences of head impacts in football.”
The lawsuit goes on to accuse the NCAA of violating its own constitution. In question specifically is Article 2.2 of the NCAA Constitution that addresses the “Principle of Student-Athlete Well-Being.”
2.2 – The Principle of Student-Athlete Well-Being
Intercollegiate athletics programs shall be conducted in a manner designed to protect and enhance the physical and education well-being of the student-athletes. (Revised 11/21/05)
2.2.3 – Health and Safety
It is the responsibility of each member of the institution to protect the health of, and provide a safe environment for, each of its participating student-athletes. (Adopted: 1/10/95)
The lawsuit alleges that the NCAA violated its duty to protect athlete’s health and safety by failing to educate players on the risks and monitor them after their playing days are over.
In the lawsuit, the players area asking for money for medical treatment and diagnosis for the Class of former players, along with damages. It goes on to cite numerous medical studies published before and after 1969, the date when Whittier began playing for UT.
Dementia, depression, cognitive deficits, reduced speed and processing power, loss of memory, and mood swings are all cited in the studies as a result of repeated traumatic head injuries.
The causes of action listed in the suit are negligence, gross negligence, breach of contract, and damages. All stemming from allegations the NCAA knew of the risks and failed to inform and monitor its players.
We have reached out to the parties for comment.