Former UR football player files concussion lawsuit against school, NCAA

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Rae Land – RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A former University of Richmond football player has filed a lawsuit against the university and the NCAA for compensation for the school's reckless disregard for the health and safety of generations of student-athletes."

This week, leading national plaintiffs' law firm Edelson PC filed a lawsuit on behalf of Frederick Pettus, a former University of Richmond football player suffering from lasting effects of concussions sustained during his college career.

Pettus is one of more than a dozen former players bringing federal lawsuits forward. Edelson has filed 18 suits against universities and the NCAA between Monday and Tuesday on behalf of Pettus and other players similarly impacted.

The suit calls for compensation for Pettus, who was injured "by their reckless disregard for the health and safety of generations of student-athletes," according to the lawsuit.

Pettus played football at UR from 1987-1991 as a defensive tackle. During that time, he suffered from at least five concussions that he claims were so severe, it forced an end to his career.

"As a result, Pettus now suffers from depression, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, memory loss, numbness and tingling, sleeping disorders, traumatic brain injury, and other debilitating issues," the suit states.

"We ‘re contacted almost daily by individuals experiencing these issues," said Chris Dore, a Chicago-based partner at Edelson PC. "This is a systematic issue that was happening at all levels across college football for decades."

The suit argues that for decades, UR and the NCAA knew about the long-term dangers of concussions that resulted from playing college football but concealed the information to protect the profitable business of college football.

"There was awareness, and there was medical research available demonstrating that this would lead to long-term injury," Dore said.

The class action lawsuit also quotes the NCAA constitution, which says college athletics should be played in a way that protects the physical well-being of student athletes.

8News reached out to the University of Richmond. A spokesperson said the university cannot comment on pending litigation.