Stanford University, the Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA have been named in a lawsuit filed last week by the law firm Edelson PC claiming negligence in protecting permanent brain injuries, according to reports by several news sources, including CBS San Francisco.
Former Stanford football player David Burns is named as the main plaintiff, but the suit was filed on behalf of players between 1959 and 2010.
Stanford is one of several colleges and conferences to have been served with complaints. Boston College, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Brigham Young, Penn State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, the Big 10, the SEC, WAC and ACC are also named in various complaints.
The University issued the following statement: "Stanford was surprised to see this lawsuit purporting to be a class action on behalf of football players from 1959 to 2010. Stanford has always acted in the best interests of its student-athletes and their health and safety has been Stanford's paramount concern. Stanford will vigorously defend this lawsuit."
Rules dating from 2011 provide for strict concussion protocol and have been adopted by both the NCAA and NFL. 'Spearing,' or leading with the helmet, has also been outlawed and is considered a major violation.
Whether schools, conferences and the NCAA hid the dangers of brain damage are at the core of these complaints.
Uniform changes, such as larger, padded helmets and netter mouthpieces, have been developed over the years that suggest added protection and Stanford opened a concussion and brain performance center in 2014.
Additional lawsuits are expected.