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Widow of Former Texas Football Player, Diagnosed with Stage 4 CTE, Sues the NCAA

Tue, 12 June 2018 / Published in Featured Story

Brooks Scheulke -- Lawfirm Newswire

June 11, 2018

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 11, 2018 – Former Texas defensive tackle Greg Ploetz sustained numerous head injuries during the course of his football career causing serious health issues. Ploetz played for the Longhorns in the late 60s, early 70s.

After Ploetz’s death his brain was donated to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. It turned out that he suffered from Stage 4 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); the most severe level, considered to cause dementia. His widow opted to file a personal injury lawsuit in Dallas against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), alleging they failed to protect and educate Ploetz during his career about the effects of repetitive sub-concussive blows to the head and concussions.

Additionally, the suit suggests that the NCAA “failed to address the coaching of tackling or playing methodologies that cause head injuries,” did not educate coaches, trainers and schools about concussion symptoms, and “failed to implement system-wide return to play guidelines.”

The lawsuit, set for June 11 in a Dallas court, is the first time a case such as this will make it to trial. Other similar lawsuits filed by former football players and their families have resulted in settlements, dismissals or are still being litigated.

Court documents also detailed how Ploetz’s condition worsened, as he grew older. He became disinhibited, apathetic and started displaying compulsive behaviors. He struggled with confusion, paranoia, and spent time in psychiatric hospitals and respite homes. Ploetz was treated with a variety of medications that affected his mobility and resulted in him only being able to respond to yes or no questions.

“The suit asks for damages for negligence and wrongful death, asserting that the NCAA knew or should have known about the link between head injuries and long-term neurological issues,” explained Austin traumatic brain injury lawyer Brooks Schuelke, who is not involved in the case.

There certainly is established precedent in this area when it comes to the links between multiple concussions and playing football. A decision in this court case in favor of the plaintiff could influence how the NCAA designs game rules and protects their student-athletes.

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