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NCAA and Germantown Family Reach $1.2 Million Settlement in Frostburg State Football Player’s Death

For the first time, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has agreed to pay a significant amount of money and create more awareness of brain injuries as the result of a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Derek Sheely, a football player who suffered a fatal brain injury in 2011.

The former Northwest High School football captain Derek Sheely died in August 2011, at the age of 22, after a traumatic brain injury suffered at football practice while playing at Frostburg State University.

The wrongful death case was filed against the NCAA and Frostburg State University by Independence, KS-based attorney Ken McClain of Humphrey Farrington & McClain PC and Paul Anderson of The Klamann Law Firm PC. The lawsuit argued that concussion protocols weren't followed, making Sheely's death a preventable tragedy.

The case was filed in August 2013, and on the eve of trial, the parties agreed to a settlement. The settlement awards $1.2 million to The Derek Sheely Foundation and provides several other remedies aimed at increasing awareness and research about concussions.

In a statement released on FaceBook, Derek’s parents Ken and Kristin Sheely said, “In August 2011, our beloved son Derek Sheely suffered a fatal brain injury during football practice, and our lives have been forever devastated. We established the non-profit Derek Sheely Foundation to increase awareness and research into sports-related concussions in hopes of preventing other children from suffering Derek’s fate. This settlement will help the Derek Sheely Foundation achieve its goals. We wish to thank the brave players who stepped forward for Derek.”

"This is a landmark settlement not just because it is the first brain-injury case that the NCAA has agreed to pay a significant amount of money to resolve, but also because the stakeholders of football are now on notice that they have an obligation to protect the health and safety of the athletes, and if they fail to do so, there will be vast repercussions," McClain said in a release. "While we were eager to try this case to a jury, we were able to craft a settlement that will have a much greater impact than a verdict could have achieved in this case."