LUFKIN – The University of Tulsa, Conference USA, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association are implicated in a federal class action lawsuit alleging failure to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes.
Texas resident Donald Gobert brought the suit on June 8. Recent court documents show that Gobert was a member of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team from 2006 to 2009.
He suffered “a number of concussive and sub-concussive hits” during his collegiate career, including but not limited to a hit in 2008 which made him unconscious, the suit says.
Gobert was reportedly instructed to quit the game.
According to the lead plaintiff, the defendants “kept players and the public in the dark” about head injuries, which the complaint labels “an epidemic that was slowly killing college athletes.”
“During the course of a college football season, athletes absorb more than 1,000 impacts greater than 10g’s (gravitational force) and, worse yet, the majority of football-related hits to the head exceed 20g’s, with some approaching 100g’s,” the original petition says. “To put this in perspective, if you drove your car into a wall at twenty-five miles per hour and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, the force of you hitting the windshield would be around 100g’s. That means each season these 18, 19, and 20 year old student-athletes are being subjected to the equivalent of several hundred car accidents.”
Gobert asserts he and many others “now suffer from neurological and cognitive damage, including symptoms of traumatic encephalopathy” as a result of the respondents’ failure to implement protective procedures against traumatic brain injuries.
A jury trial is requested.
Attorney Jeff Lewis Raizner of the law firm Raizner Slania LLP in Houston is serves as the lead counsel for Gobert and the class plaintiffs.
Lufkin Division of the Eastern District of Texas Case No. 9:17-CV-0106