Matthew Gee, a former linebacker with the University of Southern California, died on December 31, 2018. His widow filed a $55 million lawsuit claiming that the NCAA failed to protect him from head injuries. While other athletes have filed similar claims, the lawsuit brought by the widow was the first to make it to a jury trial. The jury trial lasted for more than four weeks, but they finally found that the NCAA bore no responsibility for Gee’s death even though experts estimate he was hit in the head more than 6,000 times during his playing career. The outcome of this trial may affect others, including those in the Kansas City metro area, who are considering filing similar lawsuits.
Brain examined after death
A team of experts at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center examined Gee’s brain after his death and found him to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Five of his teammates also passed away before they were 50, possibly from the same disease, which is a possible cause of substance abuse and other health conditions that Gee experienced.
What would be required to find the NCAA guilty?
In order to find the NCAA guilty in this wrongful death case, they would have had to vote at least 9-3 that the organization did something or failed to do something that would have better protected the player. The jury found that the organization did its best with the scientific knowledge available during Gee’s career, which ended in 1992. This case may make future cases harder to win against the NCAA because judges may refer to this ruling.
Matthew Gee’s widow lost her lawsuit against the NCAA, during which she claimed the organization was responsible for his death by failing to protect him from head injuries.