LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys requested a jury Monday to award $55 million to the widow of a former USC soccer participant, in a landmark case accusing the NCAA of failing to guard him from repetitive head trauma that led to his loss of life.
Matthew Gee, a hard-hitting linebacker who was on the 1990 Rose Bowl-winning squad, endured numerous blows that prompted everlasting mind harm and led to cocaine and alcohol abuse that finally killed him at age 49, his attorneys stated in closing arguments.
Within the first case of its variety to go to a jury, the attorneys in advised Los Angeles Superior Court docket jurors that the NCAA, the governing physique of faculty athletics within the U.S., had identified about results of head trauma in sports activities for the reason that Thirties however failed for many years to inform gamers of the dangers or put guidelines in place to guard gamers.
“You can not deliver Matt again however you possibly can say what the NCAA did to him was incorrect,” lawyer Invoice Horton stated. “Put this on the NCAA’s radar. … That is the one method they may ever hear.”
A lawyer for the NCAA stated Gee skilled a sudden cardiac loss of life introduced on by long-standing hypertension and acute cocaine toxicity and he had a raft of different critical well being issues.
“The NCAA had nothing to do with the issues that tragically took Mr. Gee’s life,” lawyer Will Stute stated.
The difficulty of concussions in sports activities, and soccer particularly, has been entrance and middle lately as analysis has found extra about long-term results of repeated head trauma in issues starting from complications to melancholy and, generally, early onset Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s illness.
The monthlong trial is one in every of tons of of wrongful loss of life and private harm lawsuits introduced by school soccer gamers towards the NCAA up to now decade.
However Gee’s is simply the second case to go to trial with allegations that hits to the pinnacle led to persistent traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative mind illness. A 2018 case in Texas settled a couple of days into the trial and lengthy earlier than it may need gone to the jury.
Gee was one in every of 5 linebackers on the 1989 Trojans squad who died earlier than turning 50. As with teammate and NFL star Junior Seau, who killed himself in 2012, Gee’s mind was examined posthumously at Boston College’s Continual Traumatic Encephalopathy Heart and located to have CTE.
CTE is related to reminiscence loss, melancholy and progressive dementia. It will possibly solely be identified after loss of life.
Boston College has discovered CTE within the brains of 110 of 111 deceased former NFL gamers and 48 of 53 former school gamers, in accordance with a research within the Journal of the American Medical Affiliation.
Corridor of Famers identified after loss of life embrace Ken Stabler and Mike Webster.
In his senior yr, Gee was crew captain and led USC in tackles, compelled fumbles and fumble recoveries.
Gee married Alana, his school sweetheart, after graduating in 1992, they usually lived a standard life for 20 years. They raised three kids as he ran a profitable insurance coverage firm in Southern California.
However issues took a downturn round 2013 when he started to lose management of his feelings, the lawsuit stated. He grew to become offended, confused and depressed. He drank closely. He advised a physician days would go by with out him having the ability to recall what occurred.
Attorneys for Gee stated that CTE, which is present in athletes and navy veterans who suffered repetitive mind accidents, was an oblique reason for loss of life as a result of head trauma has been proven to advertise substance abuse.
“Hardly ever do you discover CTE on a loss of life certificates,” lawyer Justin Shrader stated.
Stute stated the wrongful loss of life case was about what prompted Gee’s loss of life and never whether or not CTE exists. NCAA specialists stated CTE was nonetheless a speculation.
After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged in 2016 that BU’s analysis confirmed a hyperlink between soccer. The league agreed to settle head harm instances overlaying 20,000 retired gamers offering as much as $4 million for a loss of life involving CTE. It’s anticipated to exceed $1.4 billion in payouts over 65 years for six qualifying situations.
In 2016, the NCAA agreed to settle a class-action concussion lawsuit, paying $70 million to observe former school athletes’ medical situations, $5 million towards medical analysis, and funds of as much as $5,000 towards particular person gamers claiming accidents.
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