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

A Los Angeles jury on Tuesday rejected a claim by the widow of a former USC football player who said the nca failed to protect him He died due to repeated head injuries.

Matthew Gee, a linebacker on the 1990 Rose Bowl-winning squad, endured an estimated 6,000 hits that caused permanent brain damage and led to cocaine and alcohol abuse, which ultimately killed him at age 49, his widow The lawyers alleged.

The NCAA said it had nothing to do with Gee’s death, which it said was sudden cardiac arrest caused by untreated high blood pressure and acute cocaine poisoning. An attorney for the governing body of US college sports said Gee was suffering from several other health problems not related to football, such as liver cirrhosis, which would eventually kill him.

FILE – In an undated photo provided by USC Athletics, former USC player Matthew Gee plays in an NCAA college football game.


The decision could have wider implications for college athletes who blame the NCAA for head injuries.

Hundreds of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits have been brought by college football players against the NCAA over the past decade, but Geese is the first to reach a jury alleging that head injuries chronic traumatic encephalopathyis a degenerative brain disease known by its acronym CTE.

Alana G. said the college sweethearts had a good 20 years of marriage before her husband’s mental health began to deteriorate and he became angry, depressed and impulsive, and began abusing drugs and alcohol.

Gee’s attorneys said that CTE, which is found in athletes and military veterans who suffer repetitive brain injuries, was an indirect cause of death because the head trauma was shown to fuel substance abuse. has gone.

The NCAA said the case was about the time Gee played from 1988-92, and was not about CTE, which was first discovered in the brain of a deceased NFL player in 2005.

NCAA attorney Will Stute said Gee never reported having a concussion and stated in an application to play with the then-Los Angeles Raiders after graduation that he was never sedated.

Stute said in his closing argument, “You can’t hold the NCAA responsible for anything after 40 years.” “The plaintiffs want you in a time travel machine. We don’t have one… in the NCAA. It’s not fair.”

Lawyers for Gee’s family said there is no doubt that Matt Gee suffered a concussion and numerous sub-concussive traumas.

Teammate Mike Salmon, who went on to play in the NFL, testified that Gee, who was team captain his senior year, was once so terrified by a hit that he could not call the next play.

Gee was one of five linebackers on the 1989 Trojans squad who died before the age of 50. All displayed signs of mental decline associated with head trauma.

With teammate and NFL star Junior Seau, Joe killed himself in 2012Gee’s brain was examined posthumously at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center and CTE was found.

Jurors were not allowed to hear testimony about Ji’s dead comrades.

Gee’s lawyers said that the NCAA, founded in 1906 to protect athletes, had known about the effects of head injuries since the 1930s, but did not have a baseline for educating players, banning headfirst contact or concussion symptoms. Test failed to execute.

The lawyers asked the jurors to award Alana G $55 million in restitution for her damages.

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