Family members of former USC fullback Douglas MacKenzie, UCLA running back Rodney Stensrud, San Diego State linebacker Jeff Staggs and Grand Valley State quarterback Cullen Finnerty are suing the NCAA claiming concussions caused brain disease and eventually led to early deaths.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the lawsuits are among the first in a wave of complaints expected to be filed against the NCAA that allege the sport’s governing body did not properly inform college football players of the risks of head injuries and the impact that traumatic brain injury could have on their long-term quality of life.
Finnerty, 30, died of pneumonia caused by inhaling his vomit after becoming disoriented during a fishing trip. A lawsuit surrounding his death claims he was “knocked unconscious and suffered multiple concussions and/or sub concussive impacts to the head during games and/or practice” during his playing career at Toledo and Grand Valley State.
MacKenzie’s mother, Dorothy MacKenzie-Schmidt, stated in a separate complaint that MacKenzie suffered from memory loss, delirious periods, tremors in his hands and depression.
An autopsy revealed Stensrud had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease discovered in more than 100 deceased former football players.
Staggs died in 2014 at age 70 and was revealed to have also been living with CTE.
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