Former College Football Player Sues NCAA for Failing to Warn of Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion Danger
A former college football player for the California University of Pennsylvania is suing the NCAA for traumatic brain injury that has landed him in a wheelchair with serious neurological problems.
Matthew Onyshko, 32, was a firefighter and educator until recent developments that he claims are related to untreated concussions leading to traumatic brain injury have caused him to become terminally ill.
Onyshko suffers from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and has classic symptoms including “severe headaches, numbness, twitching, muscle atrophy, fatigue, loss of mobility, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing [and] weakness.”
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a case as sad as his situation,” said Jason Luckasevic, Mr. Onyshko’s attorney, who was also a pioneer in the concussion lawsuits against the NFL. The Onyshkos “have two daughters ages 4 and 1, and Matt is just a complete shadow of himself.”
The Onyshkos claim that Matthew suffered multiple head injuries during his football career with Cal U between 1999 and 2003. Onyshko suffered repeated blows to the head, and on three occasions, he lost consciousness for at least 30 seconds. However, the lawsuit claims that Onyshko’s traumatic brain injuries were not properly treated and he was encouraged to get back on the field.
“It’s important to understand the repetitive head trauma issue here,” Luckasevic said. “(The NCAA) did not warn players of the chronic neurological issues associated with repeat injury. This is not a case of one concussion, but of multiple concussions.”
“The NCAA failed to educate its football-playing athletes, like Onyshko, on the long-term, life-altering risks and consequences of head trauma in football,” the lawsuit reads. “They failed to establish known protocols to prevent, mitigate, monitor, diagnose, and treat neurological disorders. The NCAA engaged in a long-established pattern of negligence and inaction with respect to concussions and concussion-related maladies sustained by student-athletes.”
Onyshko’s symptoms began soon after he graduated, and when he finally saw a doctor recently, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a disease that many former football players suffer and is believed by medical professionals to be related to repeated traumatic brain injury.
“From its inception, the NCAA had a duty to protect football players like the Plaintiff from health and safety risks,” the suit states. “The NCAA held itself out as acting in the [sic] Onyshko’s best interests. Plaintiff relied on the NCAA to disclose relevant risk information and protect his health and safety.”
“The NCAA knew or should have known that its actions or inaction in light of the rate and extent of concussions reported and made known to the NCAA would cause harm to the Plaintiff in both the short and long term” the complaint continues.
The couple seeks $75,000 in damages, along with other interest and costs.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
For many victims, a concussion or traumatic brain injury is not immediately noticeable. Concussion or traumatic brain injury symptoms may not appear for several days after the initial trauma. If you or a loved one suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident or negligence, the Strom Law Firm offers a free, no-cost consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today at 803.252.4800