The NCAA, former UCLA football head coach Jim Mora and his staff are being sued for $15 million by former offensive lineman John Lopez.
The lawsuit comes after Lopez stated that he tried to commit suicide back in 2017 which he claimed is a result of suffering multiple concussions when he was with the Bruins. Lopez joined the team in August of 2013 for fall camp in San Bernardino where he says he suffered his first concussion.
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A year later in fall camp, he suffered his second and claims that the coaching staff tried to rush him back onto the field. Lopez suffered a third concussion in 2015 which forced him to medically retire from the team.
Lopez said that practices “unnecessarily brutal” and at that, he was ridiculed for the injury. He also alleged that least one assistant coach made a special drill in which teammates were encouraged to hurt him.
The result of the concussions had apparently caused short-term memory loss, depression and a change in his demeanor. All of this had led Lopez to attempt suicide by overdosing on a combination of over-the-counter prescription medication.
UCLA has since released a statement on the matter.
"We strongly deny and will defend ourselves against the allegations made in the lawsuit. We handle every injury with the highest standard of care, and take potential head injuries very seriously. As one of the world’s leading research institutions, and a partner in the largest-ever concussion research study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense and NCAA, we believe our concussion protocol is among the strongest in the country. Our team physicians and sports medicine staff work hand-in-hand on diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, and they are the only individuals who determine when a student-athlete is cleared to participate in their sport; coaches are not involved in these decisions."
Clearly, this is a very serious matter. The safety of players has become a more prevalent issue in not just college football, but in all sports inthe last decade. This past year, the UCLA football program held out several players due to safety concerns, specifically regarding concussions and head trauma.
As of Thursday afternoon, the NCAA nor Jim Mora have not commented on the situation.