Former Illinois College Football Player suing Olivet Nazarene University for Brain Injury

Meredith Rodriquez had an interesting story in the Chicago Tribune on a lawsuit recently filed by a former college football player. The allegations rise disturbing questions about how players are coached and the equipment they use.

Nathaniel Irvin filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County claiming that he suffered brain damage as a result of poor coaching and improper helmet use while playing college football from 1986 to 1989.

Irvin named a number of defendants in the lawsuit, including his alma mater, Olivet Nazarene, the NCAA, and several athletic equipment makers including Russell Athletic.

The lawsuit alleges that on multiple occasions, after hits, Irvin showed classic signs of concussion including vomiting, lack of physical control, dizziness, confusion, blackouts, amnesia and chronic headaches. The suit goes onto allege that despite those symptoms, on each occasion, Irvin was improperly assessed and instructed to continue playing.

Additionally, the suit claims that Irvin wore helmets improperly and was never given appropriate instruction on how to wear a football helmet. Irvin also alleges he was taught improper tackling techniques, where he initiated contact with his helmet or face mask.

In March of 2014, Irvin was diagnosed with multiple traumatic brain injuries, including post-traumatic epilepsy, major depressive disorder and early Alzheimer’s. He didn’t associate his condition with football until recently when the issue exploded at the professional and collegiate level.

Mr. Irvin is represented by a Texas law firm.