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The widow of an ex-college soccer participant says her husband suffered head trauma and is asking the NCAA for $55 million in damages | NEWSRUX

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 dying.

Matthew Gee, a hard-hitting linebacker who was on the 1990 Rose Bowl-winning squad, endured numerous blows that brought about everlasting mind injury and led to cocaine and alcohol abuse that ultimately killed him at age 49, his legal professionals stated in closing arguments. His widow, Alana Gee, was within the courtroom Monday.

Within the first case of its sort to go to a jury, the attorneys advised Los Angeles Superior Court docket jurors that the NCAA, the governing physique of school athletics within the U.S., had identified about results of head trauma in sports activities because the Nineteen 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 improper,” legal professional Invoice Horton stated. “Put this on the NCAA’s radar. … That is the one approach they’ll ever pay attention.”

A lawyer for the NCAA stated Gee skilled a sudden cardiac dying introduced on by long-standing hypertension and acute cocaine toxicity. He mentioned a raft of Gee’s different critical well being issues, which he stated weren’t associated to soccer.

“The NCAA had nothing to do with the issues that tragically took Mr. Gee’s life,” legal professional Will Stute stated.

The difficulty of concussions in sports activities, and soccer particularly, has been entrance and middle in recent times as analysis has found extra about long-term results of repeated head trauma in issues starting from complications to despair and, generally, early onset Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s illness.

The monthlong trial is certainly one of a whole lot of wrongful dying and private damage lawsuits introduced by faculty soccer gamers in opposition to the NCAA prior to now decade.

However Gee’s is barely the second case to go to trial with allegations that hits to the top led to continual traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative mind illness. A 2018 case in Texas settled just a few days into the trial.

Gee was certainly one 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 Power Traumatic Encephalopathy Heart and located to have CTE.

CTE is related to reminiscence loss, despair and progressive dementia. It will possibly solely be recognized after dying.

Boston College has discovered CTE within the brains of 110 of 111 deceased former NFL gamers and 48 of 53 former faculty gamers, in response to a research within the Journal of the American Medical Affiliation.

Corridor of Famers recognized after dying embrace Ken Stabler and Mike Webster.

In his senior 12 months, Gee was workforce captain and led USC in tackles, compelled fumbles and fumble recoveries.

Gee married Alana, his faculty 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 flip round 2013, when he started to lose management of his feelings, in response to the lawsuit. He grew to become offended, confused and depressed. He drank closely. He advised a physician he forgot whole days.

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

Stute stated the wrongful dying case was about what brought about Gee’s dying and never whether or not CTE exists, which he stated continues to be a speculation.

After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged in 2016 that BU’s analysis confirmed a hyperlink between soccer and CTE. The league agreed to settle head damage circumstances overlaying 20,000 retired gamers offering as much as $4 million for a dying 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 watch former faculty athletes’ medical situations, $5 million towards medical analysis, and funds of as much as $5,000 towards particular person gamers claiming accidents.

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

He stated the NCAA was being positioned able of getting to defend itself from allegations it was unaware of on the time, noting that CTE had not been found till 2005. He stated nothing the NCAA might have carried out would have stored Gee alive in the present day.

“You may’t maintain the NCAA liable for one thing 40 years later that no person ever reported,” Stute stated. “The plaintiffs need you in a time journey machine. We don’t have one … on the NCAA. It’s not truthful.”

A former NFL official who reviewed all obtainable tapes of Gee’s USC video games stated he was tackled in a protected method with out utilizing his head, and there have been no indicators of head accidents, Stute stated.

Horton countered that on the time Gee performed, the NCAA didn’t share what it knew about medical dangers of repetitive head accidents, didn’t forestall gamers from returning to the sector after accidents, and didn’t restrict the variety of practices regardless of suggestions to take action, Horton stated.

As he confirmed images of Gee at his wedding ceremony and holding his younger daughter in a pink tutu, Horton choked up, noting that Tuesday would have been Gee’s birthday.

“Ship a verdict … so he didn’t die for nothing,” Horton stated. “So each 18-year-old child who performs soccer will know the hazards of the sport they’re taking part in.”

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