National Collegiate Athletic Association athletic trainers’ response to the Arrington settlement: management, compliance, and practice patterns

The primary purpose of this study was to assess Athletic Trainers’ (ATs) report of NCAA member institution compliance with the Arrington settlement, the concussion lawsuit vs. the NCAA, and to elucidate compliance predictors. A secondary purpose was to provide a contemporary concussion management clinical practice pattern description among NCAA collegiate athletic trainers. Head Athletic Trainers from NCAA Division I, II, and III completed an electronic questionnaire in August 2020 regarding their institution’s response to the Arrington Settlement and their current concussion management clinical practice patterns. The 37-item questionnaire included AT and institution demographics, current concussion management policies, and response to the Arrington settlement with a specific focus on the five settlement requirements. An overall compliance score on the five requirements, compliance on the individual requirements, and concussion management practices are reported with descriptives. Regression was used to identify specific predictors of both overall and individual settlement requirements. An ANOVA compared compliance by NCAA division level. Being pressured to be non-compliant was assessed between sexes by a chi-square. There were 223 respondents (21.8%), and overall compliance was high (4.1 ± 0.7) with the five required Arrington Settlement components. Settlement requirement 1, pre-season baseline testing, and requirement 5, presence of trained personnel at all contact sport practices, had the lowest compliance rates at 44.8% and 73.3%, respectively. The number of sports the institution offered was the only significant predictor of each requirement. There was no difference in compliance between NCAA divisions. Although the overall rate of being non-compliant pressure was low (13.8%), females were 3.28x more likely report being pressured than males. NCAA institutions are generally compliant with the Arrington settlement; however, lack of clarity in the requirements, particularly requirement 1, raises potential concerns. Concussion management practices continue to incorporate multifaceted approaches and are largely consistent with current best practices.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Physician and Sportsmedicine on 9/5/2022, available at: This article will be embargoed until 09/05/2023.
mild traumatic brain injury, legal, organization and administration, college sports
Thomas A. Buckley, Kelsey N. Bryk, Katherine J. Hunzinger & Katelyn Costantini (2022) National Collegiate Athletic Association athletic trainers’ response to the Arrington settlement: management, compliance, and practice patterns, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, DOI: 10.1080/00913847.2022.2118001