Former Ohio State football player Ray Griffin was one of four former players to file a lawsuit on Wednesday on the grounds of lasting effects from sustained concussions during his college career.
Ray, the brother of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, is suing the Big Ten and NCAA. He is not suing OSU.
In Ray Griffin’s lawsuit, it states that the NCAA, Big Ten and OSU had a duty to protect their student-athletes according to the NCAA Constitution. The document outlines Article 2.2 of the constitution titled “Principle of student-athlete well-being,” which includes a student-athlete’s health and safety. The action then states, “The NCAA, Big Ten and Ohio State breached their duties to their student-athletes by concealing the dangers of concussions and refusing to implement reasonable concussion management protocols.”
The New England Journal of Medicine article in 1952 that recommended players ceasing to play football after three concussions was the first article published about concussion impact on football players. The suit alleges that the NCAA didn’t acknowledge the dangers of concussions until 1994 in its Sports Medicine Handbook guideline titled “Concussions and Second Impact Syndrome,” also referred to as “Guideline 2o.” That’s three years after return-to-play criteria was developed for football players suspected of head injuries in 1991.
The lawsuit also states that until 2010, OSU “completely ignored” the guideline and any concussion safety protocols, and neither the NCAA nor the Big Ten “enforced” the statement in the guideline referring to the removal of an unconscious player permanently from the game or practice the injury occurred in.
Griffin’s lawsuit is of the class-action variety, which means he is representing a group rather than just himself. The lawsuit states he is representing all OSU football players from 1952-2010.
Ray Griffin played for OSU from 1974-1977. He then played in the NFL from 1978-1984.
According to lawsuit, Griffin began to struggle with severe depression, anxiety, short-term memory loss, impulse problems, anger issues and other debilitating problems, all effects of concussions.
When selected for a Boston University study on the effects of concussions on football players, Griffin was told he had every marker of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease commonly found in the brain of athletes at risk to concussions.
He is seeking “economic, monetary, actual, consequential, compensatory and punitive damages,” as well as all past, present and future medical expenses and time and interest lost, according to the lawsuit.
Griffin filed his lawsuit with law firm Edelson PC. The firm said that the other lawsuits were from former players of Duke University, the University of Tennessee and the University of Michigan. Last month Edelson PC filed six similar lawsuits against the NCAA on behalf of former players.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to properly reflect the outcome of Raymond Griffin’s participation in a Boston University study. He didn’t learn he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Rather, he was told he “displayed every marker for CTE.”