Student-athletes put their blood, sweat, and tears into both their sport and their school. Not only do student-athletes have to meet strict academic demands, but they also make sacrifices to help their teams succeed.
Unfortunately, the hard work of a student-athlete does not always get rewarded. Many student-athletes face unfair treatment from their coaches, schools, and athletic programs. Organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has also received backlash in recent years for failing to protect student-athletes and their rights.
Student-athletes in every sport face the risk of injury. An injury can derail your playing career, threaten your future, and lead to long-term medical issues down the road. Concussions and other common injuries can be the result of negligence by coaches, medical staff, and others.
If you face an injury or another life-changing issue, you should contact an attorney right away. A student-athlete attorney can guide you through litigation and help you get the result you deserve. Here are some things to know about student-athlete litigation before you reach out to an attorney.
Sports injuries are an ongoing threat for student-athletes of all ages. Studies show that 90 percent of student-athletes experience some form of sports-related injury. Even more concerning, over half of student-athletes report that they played while injured.
Although injuries are commonplace, student-athletes are not always at fault. Many student-athletes have successfully argued in court that their injuries were the result of negligence by a third party. Coaches and faculty do not always protect their athletes and may put them in harm's way. In some cases, they push their athletes to play injured and risk further aggravation.
You must know your rights if you're injured. Although you may be reluctant to challenge your school or sports program, you must put your interests first. A student-athlete attorney will advise you on whether or not you should pursue litigation.
Loss of Scholarship
Student-athletes already face intense pressure. For college athletes on scholarships, the stakes are especially high. Over 180,000 student-athletes rely on NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 scholarships every year. For many of these athletes, scholarships provide them with the financial opportunity to pursue higher education.
Here's the thing about scholarships: they're not guaranteed. The NCAA grants scholarships on an annual basis. Student-athletes who experience injury or other issues may lose their scholarship at the end of the academic year. Losing a scholarship can have devastating effects on student-athletes. Not only do they lose their spot on the team, but they can lose their access to their university and their degree.
Just as coaches have the right to revoke a scholarship, student-athletes have the right to fight scholarship decisions. If you face scholarship loss, you can appeal the decision. An attorney will guide you through this process and advocate to reinstate your scholarship.
The NCAA must also meet specific rules if they choose not to renew a scholarship. For example, they must notify students by July to revoke a scholarship for the following academic year. You should speak with an attorney to review your rights and discuss potential litigation if you face a loss of scholarship.
Misdiagnosis of Injury
There's a reason why so many athletes seek a second opinion when it comes to injuries. Even the best medical experts make mistakes. Unfortunately, when a team doctor or trainer makes a mistake, it often comes at the expense of student-athletes.
Sports organizations are obligated to protect student-athletes. If an expert misdiagnosis an injury, it puts the student-athletes safety at risk. An incorrect diagnosis can lead to reaggravation, improper medical treatment, and long-term ailments that impact athletes for years to come.
Don't let someone else's mistake jeopardize your future. If you feel an expert misdiagnosed your injury, you should work with an attorney to pursue litigation. You should also avoid signing any documents without your lawyer present. A lawyer will make sure you do not sign away any of your rights and that you have the best opportunity to succeed in court.
Student-Athlete Concussion Litigation
Concussions are one of the most common injuries for student-athletes. An estimated 1.7 to 3 million sports-related concussions occur every year. Although a majority of concussions stem from playing football, they also impact athletes of a variety of other sports.
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that can cause headaches, blurred vision, and a temporary loss of consciousness. They also have lasting effects on the brain and can lead to memory issues, depression, and impaired cognitive function.
Many former and current student-athletes are fighting back against the NCAA for mistreating concussions. The NCAA faced more than 300 lawsuits from former college football players in recent years. Many of these players faced long-term medical problems, including early-onset Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
If you've experienced a concussion or multiple concussions, you may want to seek damages. Since concussions are serious injuries, you should speak with your attorney about seeking compensation for medical treatment and more.
NCAA Concussion Settlement
The NCAA recently settled a class-action lawsuit brought forth by former college athletes. The suit claimed the NCAA was negligent and failed to manage the risks and protect student-athletes from concussions.
The lawsuit included several benefits for student-athletes. The NCAA agreed to pay over $70 million toward medical monitoring of former college athletes and up to $5,000 for players who experienced concussions. NCAA student-athletes also qualify for free medical screenings and evaluations.
To be eligible, you must have played an NCAA-sanctioned sport on or before July 15, 2016. Although you do not need to have a concussion on your medical record, you must not have opted out from the settlement. You can learn more on the settlement website.
As part of the settlement, student-athletes may no longer bring forth class-action lawsuits against the NCAA. However, they may still bring forth lawsuits on a per-school basis. State laws establish that people may not sue public universities. These laws do not apply to private universities.
Recent settlements and state laws muddy the waters when it comes to litigation. If you feel you are a victim, you should never assume that you cannot bring forth litigation. Speak with your lawyer first to review your options.
Student-Athlete Name and Likeness
Student-athletes have long fought against NCAA rules that prohibit them from receiving compensation for their name and likeness. A rule change indicates that an overhaul of these rules may soon be in play.
The NCAA Board of Governors recently announced rule changes that allow student-athletes to gain third-party endorsements related to and separate from athletics. The changes will go into effect starting in the 2021-2022 academic year. At this time, student-athletes can earn money from product endorsements, advertisements, appearance fees, and more.
Although this is welcome news for student-athletes nationwide, the rule change includes several restrictions. Student-athletes will not be allowed to use school or team logos or other trademarks for monetary gain. The bylaws also prohibit schools, recruiters, and boosters from paying student-athletes for name, image, and likeness activities.
The name and likeness legislation may create confusion between schools and their sports organizations. Student-athletes should consult with an attorney to make sure any activities and payments are within the NCAA boundaries.
Many student-athletes have also faced backlash for failing to comply with name and likeness rules. If the NCAA accuses you of breaking the rules, your attorney will work to protect your finances and your eligibility as a student-athlete.
How an Attorney Can Help
The unfortunate reality is that student-athletes don't always receive fair treatment. Universities, sports teams, and the NCAA often put their interests ahead of protecting student-athletes. A student-athlete attorney can guide you through the litigation process and fight for a fair outcome.
Student-athlete attorneys have valuable experience handling litigation between parties. They can serve as a liaison between your school and the NCAA while advocating fiercely on your behalf. Not only do they have the legal know-how to challenge institutions, but they can also help you identify any violation of your rights that may jeopardize your future.
Many student-athletes fail to take legal action when it is warranted. It might seem intimidating to take on a big-name university or billion-dollar organization, but with the right legal representation, you can get the settlement you deserve.
An experienced attorney will review your situation, collect evidence, and fight for a positive outcome in your case. They will also be there every step of the way to answer your questions and provide expert guidance to make the process as smooth as possible.
Your National Student-Athlete Attorney
Are you a student-athlete that is considering litigation? The Lento Law Firm is here to help. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is an experienced attorney advisor for students in a wide range of cases. For many years, he has fought tirelessly to achieve positive outcomes for student-athletes.
The Lento Law Firm can level the playing field and help you fight back against your opponent. Contact the experienced attorneys at Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.