Can I sue the NCAA and my college football program for my injuries?
I was a division 1 football player in college were I was chasing the dream of a NFL contract and future earnings. That dream wasn't realized and I'm currently a few years out of college and living with soft tissue injuries. The NCAA prohibits student athletes from being paid for the 5 years of football because they claim amateurism, but the universities and the NCAA make millions.
NCAA rules (and because players cost so little) allows coaches to take unnecessary risks with players because they are easily replaced - unlike in the NFL were an injured player can cost millions due to contracts, so unnecessary drills and contact is avoided as much as possible.
I sustained life long injuries from playing in college. I have scar tissue and intense pain in my neck, lower back and hip from hitting drills and the like. So not only was I not paid once I was done playing, but now all my continued medical costs, including any future repercussions of my injuries, are all up to me to pay. I can not afford medical coverage and my injuries limit my quality of life and the types of careers I'm able to pursue.
I don't understand why the NCAA who makes hundreds of millions a year, and my college that makes millions off football, doesn't at least have a medical plan or assistance for their prior players. The fact is the college football system uses players up for all the money they can make and throws them away with zero compensation. Everyone is being paid millions but the ones who get hurt and don't make it to the NFL get nothing.
It's not right that I continue to live in pain while so many profited off my work, and they couldn't even at least give me some medical coverage so I could manage my pain. I would like to know if I can sue my old college and the NCAA for my pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and future medical costs I will incur trying to treat the symptoms? Thank you for any perspective you can give on this issue.
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ANSWER for "Can I sue the NCAA and my college football program for my injuries?":
In a word...."No". The State of California has a one (1) year Statute of Limitation, or "time limit" by which a person must either settle their personal injury case or file a lawsuit. Inasmuch as you mentioned you are already a "few years" out of college the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit against the school will be all but impossible.
The next problem you would have is proving your current pain and discomfort are directly and exclusively related to your old football injuries. After a few years that will be difficult to prove unless you have a continuing medical course of treatment evidenced by medical records commencing from the time you sustained those injuries in college.
There is no doubt the abandoning of injured college and university athletes is terribly prevalent in this country. It occurs often and is systemic throughout the college and university system.
Although it is probably impossible to sue the college for your future lost earnings, it may be possible to go back to the school and ask them to offer their medical coverage to help defray the costs of your continuing medical treatment. If you are able to present the aforementioned medical evidence you may have a remote chance of convincing them.
Otherwise consider yourself one of thousands of young men each year who are excellent athletes, but by cause of fate never quite make it to the pros.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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