USC not liable in former football player’s dying, jury finds in landmark case

A Los Angeles jury on Tuesday rejected a declare by the widow of a former USC football 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 that brought about everlasting mind harm and led to cocaine and alcohol abuse that ultimately killed him at age 49, legal professionals for his widow alleged.

The NCAA 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 governing physique of US school sports activities stated Gee suffered from many different well being issues not associated to football, equivalent to liver cirrhosis, that will have ultimately killed him.

FILE — In an undated picture offered by USC Athletics, former USC participant Matthew Gee performs in an NCAA school football sport.


The verdict might have broad ramifications for school athletes who blame the NCAA for head accidents.

Hundreds of wrongful dying and private harm lawsuits have been introduced by school football gamers in opposition to the NCAA in the previous decade, however Gee’s is the primary one to achieve a jury alleging that hits to the pinnacle led to power traumatic encephalopathya degenerative mind illness recognized by its acronym, CTE.

Alana Gee stated the school sweethearts had 20 good years of marriage earlier than her husband’s psychological well being started to deteriorate and he grew to become offended, depressed and impulsive, and commenced overeating and abusing medicine and alcohol.

Attorneys for Gee stated CTE, which is discovered 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.

The NCAA stated the case hinged on what it knew on the time Gee performed, from 1988-92, and not about CTE, which was first found in 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 then Los Angeles Raiders after graduating that he had by no means been knocked unconscious, NCAA legal professional Will Stute stated.

“You cannot maintain the NCAA answerable for one thing 40 years later that no one ever reported,” Stute stated in his closing argument. “The plaintiffs need you in a time journey machine. We haven’t got one … on the NCAA. It’s not truthful.”

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 in the NFL, testified that Gee, who was group captain his senior 12 months, was as soon as so dazed from successful that he could not name the subsequent play.

Gee was certainly one of 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 2012Gee’s mind was examined posthumously at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center and located to have CTE.

Jurors have been not allowed to listen to testimony about Gee’s deceased teammates.

Gee’s legal professionals stated 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.

Attorneys had requested jurors to award Alana Gee $55 million to compensate for her loss.

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