Shrader & Associates to Handle Groundbreaking NCAA Concussion Trial

On June 11, 2018, Debra Hardin-Ploetz will appear in a Dallas court and make her case for NCAA’s responsibility for the death of her late husband, former Division I athlete Greg Ploetz, and its liability for the damages she and her husband suffered.

Ploetz was a football player (a line-backer and defensive tackle, to be exact) for the University of Texas from 1968-71. After his college football career ended, Ploetz continued his education at UT and earned a Master of Fine Arts in 1975. Then, he went on to teach art to college and high school students.

Ploetz Downturn Appears to Have Been Caused by CTE

Little did Ploetz know, the recurring head trauma he regularly experienced on the football field would come back to haunt him. In the years following, Ploetz began to experience severe physical, mental, and emotional setbacks. He became depressed, confused, volatile, and unpredictable.

According to Hardin-Ploetz, “[He] became apathetic, disinhibited, exhibited compulsive behaviors, and his personal hygiene began to decline. He experienced paranoia and confusion, was psychiatrically hospitalized, and was in and out of respite homes due to aggressive behaviors.” It was not long before Ploetz took a steep downward turn and he became unable to function on his own. “He could only respond to yes or no questions and was functionally dependent,” Hardin-Ploetz adds, speaking of her late husband’s last days.

Ploetz passed away in 2015. The coroner’s report showed he had developed a degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which explained his mental, emotional, and physical degeneration. This condition is only developed through repeated head trauma which, for Division I athletes, is often part of the game.

Significance of Hardin-Ploetz’ Case Against the NCAA

Hardin-Ploetz’ argument that the NCAA is responsible for her husband’s death and the damages he suffered is not new—but her case is the first of its kind to reach court. The NCAA will be forced to examine their legal and moral duty to protect Ploetz and players like him from injuries by reducing risk wherever possible and will attempt to convince the court that they did, indeed, do everything possible to meet their legal obligation to protect Ploetz by reducing risk.

In addition to requiring the NCAA to publically disclose and discuss the measures it actually takes to protect student athletes and have its actions weighed by the court, this case also increases awareness of the risk of life-changing head trauma for student athletes.

Attorney Eugene Egdorf of Shrader & Associates L.L.P. is representing Hardin-Ploetz in her case against the NCAA. Egdorf is expected to examine the influence of scientific studies and available information about head trauma and concussions on measures implemented by the NCAA to protect players. The question of whether the NCAA’s protective measures are more beneficial to athletes than they are conducive to the association’s ability to turn a profit.

This will be a milestone case and is expected to set a precedent for how the courts deal with such claims against the NCAA going forward.

Shrader & Associates Represents Concussion & Head Injury Survivors Nationwide

Our firm is here to help if you or someone you loved has been seriously harmed as a direct result of athletic competition within the NCAA, or as an athlete with any other association. We have heard far too many stories of athletes’ lives being ruined, shortened, or negatively affected due to inadequate safety measures. Our sports injury attorneys are here to serve you.

Call (877) 958-7920 or contact us to schedule your free case evaluation today.
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