Former KU fullback sues NCAA over concussions

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former KU football player who says he suffers from neurological and cognitive problems after suffering four concussions, is suing the NCAA for damages.

Former Kansas fullback Christopher Powell of Kansas City claims in the lawsuit filed on Monday that the NCAA failed to adequately protect athletes from head trauma. He said his concussions occurred between 1990 and 1994 and claims he is incurring increasing medical expenses.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Western Missouri. Powell's allegations are part of a class action lawsuit, in which only the NCAA is named, not Kansas University.

FOX 4 asked the NCAA for their response the the lawsuit. The following statement was emailed to us from Stacey Osburn, NCAA Director of Public and Media Relations.

"We have not been served with the complaint yet.  However, it appears to be patterned after other proposed class action litigation filed recently.  It is not unusual to see this action from plaintiff's attorneys trying to secure a lead position in litigation of similar cases."

The NFL recently settled a mass tort lawsuit field by 4,500 former players who made similar claims that the NFL didn't protect them from concussions and the sometimes long-lasting health issues they can cause. The NFL paid out $765 million in that settlement.

"A significant number of football players sustain concussions every year," Dr. Lori Boyajain O'Neill said.

O'Neill is a certified sports medicine specialist with Centerpoint Medical Center. She treats scores of concussions ever year and sees the troubles athletes can suffer.

"For all those times in practice when there's no violent blow and no large impact, we're concerned about the potential of repeatedly striking the helmets," she said. "What does that mean for the rest of their lives? We don't have those answers yet."

Related: KC attorneys represent family in concussion death lawsuit against NCAA
Related: Research on brain disease related to concussions

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