Former UW football player on concussion crusade

Darin Harris is a man with an infectious laugh. A man who can light up a room, like he did the football field at the University of Washington.

I was a football player and loved it to the core, Harris said.

His days as a Husky involved plenty of hard hits, including one that changed his life.

In 2008, his senior season was off to a great start.

I was having the best game of my career. 10 tackles in the third quarter, said Harris.

But he would only make one more tackle.

He runs a corner, I break, we both get our hands on the ball, my heels click -- and then face first into the ground, Harris said.

Harris suffered a severe concussion -- the effects of which linger to this day. He deals with depression and headaches.

That's why Harris sued the NCAA along with former Husky Johnny Durocher, alleging the the college sports governing body didn't to enough to protect players from concussions.

On Tuesday, the NCAA agreed to a $70 million settlement for the diagnosis of players across all sports and stronger concussion monitoring.

The plaintiff's attorney calls it victory for current and former players. The attorney said under the terms of the settlement, players will have to individually sue their schools to make a claim for medical care.

A judge still has to approve the proposed settlement of the case.

Harris, who still struggles with focus, doesn't think the settlement is a win. He believes the NCAA should also pay for an athlete's medical treatment.

It's part of his concussion crusade.

Kids lives are being affected, Harris said.

He's now back in front people raising awareness on the topic.

I want to change, I want to affect the world, said Harris. I think I can do that by speaking about my story.

The 28-year-old is on the board of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington.

I don't hate the game; I just want it to be safer, said Harris.

His Husky pride still swells. His smile is back and Harris said he can look back on the day of the injury with one regret.

I feel if I was playing we would have won that game, Harris said.


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