Heisman winner’s brother sues NCAA over concussions

The brother of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin is one of the plaintiffs in a series of lawsuits filed by former college players who say they suffer the effects of concussions.

Ray Griffin's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Illinois, names the Indianapolis-based NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. It doesn't name Ohio State University, the school where Ray Griffin played defensive back from 1974-77 before going on to a seven-year NFL career. He is the younger brother of Archie Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975 while at Ohio State.

Former Duke player Derrick Lee, former Tennessee player O.J. Owens and former Michigan player Steve Strinko also filed concussion-related federal lawsuits Wednesday. Lee's suit lists Duke, the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference as defendants. Owens is suing the Southeastern Conference as well as the NCAA. Strinko is suing the NCAA and the Big Ten.

The lawsuits use similar language in saying the defendants "have kept their players and the public in the dark about an epidemic that was slowly killing their athletes" while noting that players suffered repeated concussions that "severely increased their risks of long-term brain injuries."

The NCAA didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

A total of 10 concussion-related suits have been filed by former football players against the NCAA since mid-May. The Chicago-based law firm Edelson PC is involved in representing all the plaintiffs in each of these cases.

Christopher Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, said a few more lawsuits are expected early next week and that that the number of suits on this issue could end up filing "dozens, at least" of suits on this issue.

Dore said the schools aren't listed as defendants in some of the cases because states are often immune from these types of lawsuits and state schools share that immunity. Duke, as a private school, doesn't have that protection.

The suits involving Lee and Owens were filed in the southern district of Indiana. The Griffin and Strinko suits were filed in the northern district of Illinois.

Strinko was a Michigan linebacker from 1971-74. Owens played safety for Tennessee from 2001-03. Lee played cornerback for Duke and lettered in 2000-01.

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