Widow asks $55M from NCAA for ex-LB’s death
LOS ANGELES– Lawyer asked a jury Monday to award $55 million to the widow of a former USC football player, in a landmark case implicating the NCAA of failing to secure him from repeated head injury that caused his death.Matthew Gee, a compelling linebacker who was on the 1990 Rose Bowl-winning team, withstood countless blows that triggered irreversible mental retardation and caused cocaine and alcoholic abuse that eventually killed him at age 49, his lawyers said in closing arguments.In the very first case of
its kind to go to a jury, attorneys for Gee told Los Angeles Superior Court jurors that the NCAA, the governing body of college athletics in the U.S., had understood about effects of head injury in sports given that the 1930s however stopped working for decades to notify players of the dangers or put rules in location to safeguard players.”You can not bring Matt back however you can state what the
NCAA did to him was incorrect, “attorney Expense Horton stated.” Put this on the NCAA’s radar. … This is the only way they will ever listen.”A legal representative for the NCAA said Gee experienced an unexpected heart death caused by long-standing high blood pressure and severe cocaine toxicity and he had a raft of other serious illness.”The NCAA had absolutely nothing to do with the things that unfortunately took Mr. Gee’s life,”attorney Will Stute said.The concern of concussions in sports, and football in specific, has actually been front and center over the last few years as research study has actually discovered more about long-lasting results of repeated head trauma in issues ranging from headaches to depression and, in some cases, early beginning Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.The monthlong trial is among numerous wrongful death and injury claims brought by college football players against the NCAA in the past decade.But Gee’s is only the 2nd case to go to trial with claims that strikes to the head resulted in chronic distressing encephalopathy, a degenerative brain illness. A 2018 case in Texas settled a couple of
days into the trial and long prior to it might have gone to the jury.Gee was one of 5 linebackers on the 1989 Trojans squad who passed away prior to turning 50. As with colleague and NFL star Junior Seau, who killed himself in 2012, Gee’s brain was examined posthumously at Boston University’s Persistent Distressing Encephalopathy Center and discovered to have CTE.CTE is related to memory loss, anxiety and progressive dementia. It can only be identified after death.Boston University has actually found CTE in the brains of 110 of 111 deceased previous NFL players and 48 of 53 former college players, according to a study in
the Journal of the American Medical Association.Hall of Famers diagnosed after death consist of Ken Stabler and Mike Webster.In his senior year, Gee was group captain and led USC in deals with, required fumbles and fumble recoveries.Gee married Alana, his college sweetheart, after finishing in 1992, and they lived a normal life for 20 years. They raised 3 kids as he ran an effective insurance company
in Southern California.But things took a slump around 2013 when he began to lose control of his feelings, the claim stated. He blew up, baffled and depressed.
He drank greatly. He told a doctor days would go by without him being able to remember what happened.Attorneys for Gee stated that CTE, which is discovered in professional athletes and military veterans who suffered repeated brain injuries, was an indirect cause of death because head injury has been revealed to promote drug abuse.” Hardly ever do you find CTE on a death certificate, “lawyer Justin Shrader said.Stute said the wrongful death case was about what triggered Gee’s death and not whether CTE exists. NCAA professionals said CTE was still a hypothesis.After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged in 2016 that BU’s research revealed a link in between football. The league consented to settle head injury cases covering 20,000 retired players supplying approximately$4 million for a death involving CTE. It’s expected to exceed$ 1.4 billion in payouts over 65 years for six certifying conditions.In 2016, the NCAA consented to settle a class-action concussion claim, paying$70 million to keep an eye on former college professional athletes’ medical conditions,$5 million towards medical research, and payments of as much as $5,000 toward individual players claiming injuries.