Former Ball State fullback Geoff Donner filed a class-action lawsuit against the Mid-American Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association earlier this week.

Donner played for the Cardinals from 1993-95 and said that he allegedly tried to sit out a practice to recover from a concussion, only to be threatened with having his scholarship pulled if he didn't participate.

The suit alleges that neither the MAC nor NCAA adopted "internationally accepted guidelines."

"Instead, and in complete disregard of the vast body of known scientific evidence and the resources and authority possessed by Defendants, up until 2010, Defendants orchestrated an approach to football practices and games that: 

  • ignored the medical risks to Plaintiff and other Ball State football players;
  • aggravated and enhanced the medical risks to Plaintiff and other Ball State football players;
  • failed to educate Plaintiff and other Ball State football players of the link between TBIs in amateur football and chronic neurological damage, illnesses, and decline; 
  • failed to implement or enforce any system that would reasonably have mitigated, prevented, or addressed TBIs suffered by Plaintiff and other Ball State football players; and 
  • failed to timely implement “return to play” guidelines for student-athletes who sustain concussions.."

The lawsuit also references Kevin Guskiewicz of the University of North Carolina’s Sports Concussion Research Program to describe the severity of concussions.

“If you drove your car into a wall at 25 miles per hour and you weren’t wearing your seat belt, the force of your head hitting the windshield would be around 100[g’]s: in effect, the player [who sustained two hits above 80g’s,] had two car accidents that morning."

The lawsuit is one of several class-action concussion lawsuits filed against the NCAA and its member schools and conferences in recent weeks.

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy issued a statement on the lawsuits:

"These lawsuits are mere copycats — using the exact same language — of the approximately 30 cases this lawyer has filed in a matter of months. Failing to achieve a bodily injury component to the Arrington case settlement, it appears that counsel is attempting to extract a bodily injury settlement through the filing of these new questionable class actions. This strategy will not work. The NCAA does not believe that these complaints present legitimate legal arguments and expects that they can be disposed of early by the court."