Skip to content

Jury: NCAA to not blame in ex-USC soccer participant’s dying

  • by

LOS ANGELES — In a verdict that might have an effect on numerous claims by athletes who sue sports activities organizations for head accidents, a Los Angeles jury on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit searching for $55 million by the widow of a former USC participant who stated the NCAA failed to guard him from repeated head trauma that led to his dying.

Matthew Gee, a linebacker on the 1990 Rose Bowl-winning squad, endured an estimated 6,000 hits as a university athlete, attorneys for his widow stated. They alleged these impacts brought on everlasting mind injury, and led to cocaine and alcohol abuse that finally killed him at age 49.

The NCAA, the governing physique of US faculty sports activities, stated it had nothing to do with Gee’s dying, which it stated was a sudden cardiac arrest introduced on by untreated hypertension and acute cocaine toxicity. A lawyer for the NCAA stated Gee suffered from many different well being issues not associated to , akin to liver cirrhosis, that will have finally killed him.

Tons of of wrongful dying and private damage lawsuits have been introduced by faculty gamers towards the NCAA previously decade, however Gee’s was the primary one to achieve a jury. The go well with alleged that hits to the pinnacle led to continual traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative mind illness recognized by the acronym CTE.

Choose Terry Inexperienced informed jurors in Los Angeles Superior Court docket they “made historical past” within the first case of its type.

The consequence may function a warning to attorneys making ready to take comparable circumstances to trial, stated Dan Lust, a sports activities legislation legal professional and professor at New York Legislation College. Earlier than the trial, he had stated {that a} Gee victory may have opened the floodgates towards the NCAA. Now, the NCAA has extra leverage in future circumstances.

“Any plaintiff’s legal professional goes to suppose twice earlier than placing all of the chips within the desk and pushing them to the center and saying, ‘We will take our case to trial and see what occurs,’” ​​Lust stated. “You are going to be a lot much less inclined to take that threat from a cost-benefit perspective.”

Alana Gee choked up as the decision was learn and had tears in her eyes afterwards. She informed one among her attorneys that she didn’t perceive how the jury got here to that call, however she thanked the seven ladies and 5 males personally as they left the courtroom. She declined to remark afterwards.

“We really feel deep sympathy for the Gee household proper off the bat,” Will Stute, the NCAA legal professional, stated afterward. “However we really feel like this verdict is a vindication of the place we have taken in all these circumstances, which is the science and medication in Matthew Gee’s circumstance didn’t assist causation.”

Stute had argued that medical proof shouldn’t be clear on what causes CTE, and what the impacts are from that illness.

Attorneys for Gee stated CTE, which is present in athletes and navy veterans who suffered repetitive mind accidents, was an oblique reason behind dying as a result of head trauma has been proven to advertise substance abuse.

Alana Gee had testified that the faculty sweethearts had 20 good years of marriage earlier than her husband’s psychological well being started to deteriorate and he turned offended, depressed and impulsive, and started overeating and abusing medicine and alcohol.

The NCAA stated the case hinged on what it knew on the time Gee performed, from 1988-92, and never about CTE, which was first found within the mind of a deceased NFL participant in 2005.

Gee by no means reported having a concussion and stated in an software to play with the Raiders after graduating that he had by no means been knocked unconscious, Stute stated.

“You possibly can’t maintain the NCAA liable for one thing 40 years later that no person ever reported,” Stute stated in his closing argument. “The plaintiffs need you in a time journey machine. We do not have one … on the NCAA. It is not honest.”

Attorneys for Gee’s household stated there was little question that Matt Gee suffered concussions and numerous sub-concussive blows.

Mike Salmon, a teammate who went on to play within the NFL, testified that Gee, who was crew captain his senior yr, as soon as was so dazed from successful that he could not name the subsequent play.

Gee was one among 5 linebackers on the 1989 Trojans squad who died earlier than turning 50. All displayed indicators of psychological deterioration related to head trauma.

As with teammate and NFL star Junior Seau, who killed himself in 2012, Gee’s mind was examined posthumously at Boston College’s Persistent Traumatic Encephalopathy Heart and located to have CTE.

Jurors weren’t allowed to listen to testimony about Gee’s deceased teammates.

Alana Gee’s attorneys had argued that the NCAA, which was based in 1906 for athlete security, had recognized about impacts from head accidents because the Nineteen Thirties however failed to teach gamers, ban headfirst contact, or implement baseline testing for concussion signs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *