An ex-college basketball player from Denton, Texas, James Cunningham, is suing the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) for failing to keep his health as a top priority by allowing him to continue playing before healing from an initial concussion. Cunningham’s career includes playing at Arizona State University as well as Tulsa University between 1994 and 1998. The Denton native saw the end of his successful college basketball career cut short due to the increasing intensity of his injury. The suit filed by his Houston attorneys on June 20, 2014 states that Cunningham had sustained “repeated concussive trauma” during his college career where he later began to experience symptoms such as “feeling dazed or lightheaded, memory loss, nausea, headaches, blurred vision, difficulty speaking or concentrating, difficulty with coordination or balance, anxiety, and fatigue”. The suit continues to state that Cunningham sought treatment at various hospitals such as John Hopkins and Baylor University undergoing tests including CAT scans as well as MRIs.
With an astronomical amount of hospital bills, Cunningham blames the NCAA arguing that it knowingly lets athletes with injuries continue to play before they have properly healed, even going back in during the same game when the injury was received, despite being aware of the risk involved. The suit states that the aforementioned symptoms of Cunningham’s concussions did not appear until after the injuries sustained while playing for the NCAA and that he now requires constant and intense medical attention all while still being at risk for even more brain damage later on. Asking for more than $75,000 is damages, Cunningham argues the NCAA is completely at fault for “negligence and fraudulent concealment”.
The NCAA oversees twenty-three different college sports as well as over 400 college athletes. According to the NCAA website, their main purpose is to provide athletes with a “competitive environment that is safe and ensures fair play”. In addition the this, they also establish “safety guidelines, playing rules, equipment standards, drug testing procedures, and research into the cause of injuries to assist decision making”. The NCAA has yet to make a statement concerning the case.