Posted August 31, 2020
Saturday started the kickoff of college football across the United States. Though only the ACC, Big 12, SEC, AAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, and independents Army, BYU, and Liberty, as well as Notre Dame, intend to play football for the fall season, many colleges and universities are grappling with their decision to have a traditional football season in the face of COVID-19.
While the NCAA has required that universities honor scholarships of athletes who opt out of the season because of health concerns, many players fear that sitting out for the season will put them out of their coach’s good graces, hurting their playing time in the 2021 season.
Though the fear of repercussions on the field is not enough to pursue legal action, catching COVID-19 while playing collegiate sports may be. In order to pursue any type of litigation for coronavirus outbreaks, the athletes and their families would be pursuing negligence claims, arguing that the school was negligent in handling the outbreaks of the virus. But even that is difficult.
In these negligence claims, the athletes could sue their school, conference, and the NCAA for not adhering to and enforcing safety protocols.
For example, if a school did not educate players about the underlying conditions that increase their risk of complications or the effects of the coronavirus, an athlete could argue that while he could have opted out, he didn’t fully understand the full extent of coronavirus issues and decided to play.
This is of particular concern as studies show an inherent risk of myocarditis in COVID-19 patients. While the vast majority of players who may contract coronavirus are likely to experience mild to no symptoms at all, for those with underlying conditions, the risk of myocarditis is increased.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, which reduces the heart’s ability to pump, causing arrhythmias. According to Oxford Medicine, “acute and subacute myocarditis and perimyocarditis are the cause of sudden cardiac death in 5–25% of athletes,” even prior to the spread of coronavirus.
While lawsuits success rates are to be determined, many conferences are arguing that the fact that so many had opted out of playing for the fall semester is evidence enough that those who are continuing a fall season are breaching their duty of care for students, especially when risks already exist.
COVID-19 INJURY LAWYERS: JUSTICE FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND OTHER COLLEGE ATHLETES
College football is a huge component of the higher education experience. However, when your university fails to protect you not only as a student but as an athlete, you should be able to seek compensation for your injuries. If you have been failed by your university, contact us today.
Posted in COVID-19.