The NCAA’s Special Relationship with Student-Athletes as a Theory of Liability for Concussion-Related Injuries

Tezira Abe*

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the primary governing body of college athletics. Although the NCAA proclaims to protect student-athletes, an examination of its practices suggests that the organization has a troubling history of ignoring the harmful effects of concussions. Over one hundred years after the NCAA was established, and seventy years after the NCAA itself knew of the potential effects of concussions, the organization has done little to reduce the occurrence of concussions or to alleviate the potential effects that stem from repeated hits to the head. This Note argues for recognizing a special relationship between the NCAA and student-athletes that would allow these athletes to hold the NCAA liable for concussion-related injuries.

*J.D. Candidate, May 2020, University of Michigan Law School. Thank you to Professor Sherman Clark for his guidance. I also thank my incredible Notes Editor Carolina Velarde, as well as Michael Abrams, Jackson Erpenbach, Carrie Darden, Sophia Gonzalez, and the Volume 118 Notes Team for their thoughtful feedback throughout the writing process. Thank you to my mom and dad for encouraging me to play golf and to my sister for being my fiercest competitor. Finally, thank you to my brother for always entertaining my conversations about sports and the law. All mistakes are my own.

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