At 6 feet tall and 195 pounds, Tony Megna was considered too small to be a college football linebacker. Megna was determined, though, to play for the University of Wisconsin-Madison squad.
As a walk-on in 2007, Megna said, he was expected to work harder than his peers on the field and at practice. His attitude was, “You’re playing NCAA football. You’re a warrior.”
Megna said he knew he was putting his body on the line for the game but, “I wasn’t aware of brain injury.”
Disturbed by what he has learned since his football career ended, Megna is now planning legal action. He intends to join a group of former college football players who have filed 111 lawsuits to date seeking to create a class action against the NCAA and its athletic conferences.
His attorney, Jeff Raizner of Houston, said there is a “high likelihood” Megna will be a plaintiff in the case, which is months, if not years, away from trial. If filed, Megna’s claim could become the first to pull UW-Madison into the litigation.
At what point do the players have some responsibility for the risks they take? The risk of physical and mental injury has always been a risk. And the risk of long-term mental injury has been known for several years now. Who has ever thought that you could whack your head repeatedly for years and not have some negative impact? But players do it every day because they love the sport and some of them want the chance at a fame and fortune. Responsibility is a two-way street.