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Former college football player suing NCAA over concussions opposes settlement proposal


The lead plaintiff in a concussion lawsuit against the NCAA opposes a proposed settlement in the case.

In a statement released Tuesday through the National College Players Association, former Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington said the agreement is unacceptable and that he never approved the settlement proposal being considered by U.S. District Judge John Lee in Chicago.

Arrington said the first time he learned about the deal was through the media.

"I feel that I have been misinformed and the preliminary settlement doesn't address the reasons I filed the lawsuit in the first place," Arrington said. "I would like the judge to reject the preliminary settlement. I plan to secure new legal representation to continue this fight to protect future players in NCAA sports."

An initial settlement plan was rejected by Lee in December, but has been reworked. The agreement includes $70 million the NCAA has pledged to set aside to test current and former athletes for signs of brain injury.

Joseph Siprut, co-lead counsel in the class action lawsuit, said he remains optimistic the court will approve the settlement.

"I'm disappointed that one of the class representatives has decided to withdraw support for our settlement, having apparently adopted some of the misguided and inaccurate views of the settlement expressed in corners of the media and legal filings by other third-parties," Siprut said in a statement. "Over 20 current class representative plaintiffs remain wholly supportive of the settlement, which also has the full support of two retired federal judges who helped us structure the deal."

The National College Players Association is an advocacy group for college athletes led by former UCLA football player Ramogi Huma.

Huma said the settlement does not provide what is needed by former and future athletes because it does not mandate rules to help minimize traumatic brain injury and does not provide players suffering from brain damage direct financial support.

Even though the NCAA will be shielded from class-action lawsuits in exchange for the medical testing and other provisions of the deal, current and former athletes would still be able to sue their college or the NCAA as individuals. The NCAA-funded test could help give them medical grounds for filing just such suits.

Arrington said he endured five concussions while playing and the lingering effects, including seizures, have left him unable to secure employment.

Associated Press Writer Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.

Follow Ralph D. Russo at http://www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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