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Plaintiff to Pursue Appeal After Landmark NCAA Concussion Trial

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is facing over 300 lawsuits from former college football players who all claim that the organization failed to properly address and treat their concussions. The complaints further allege that the claimants have suffered consequential medical problems due to the NCAA’s negligence, including headaches, depression, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and even early onset Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The Case of Matthew Onyshko

Matthew Onyshko is a former California University of Pennsylvania linebacker who believes that his neurological condition is related to a concussion he sustained during his playing days. Onyshko and his wife, Jessica, filed a claim against the NCAA in 2013, stating that the organization failed to establish procedures and safety protocols that could minimize the risk of long-term brain injuries. Worse, the NCAA didn’t protect or warn Onyshko that repeated head trauma could seriously affect his health.

Onyshko played college football in the four years spanning 1999 and 2003. He reportedly suffered numerous blows to the head and at least twenty concussions.  During the trial, Onyshko testified that he didn’t even know what a concussion was until years later, and that the NCAA’s medical handbook doesn’t even include information about head trauma or brain injuries.

After graduating from Cal U, Onyshko started experiencing weakness in his hands, and was ultimately diagnosed with symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2008. Sadly, he was forced to quit his job as a Pittsburgh firefighter due to his disability, and how suffers from paralysis.

On May 23, 2019, Onyshko’s attorneys, Justin Shrader and Eugene Egdorf of Shrader & Associates, L.L.P., asked the jury for $9.6 million in compensatory damages to cover the plaintiff’s housing modifications, past and future medical expenses, non-economic damages, and general loss of earning capacity. As Egdorf told the jury: “The NCAA makes all the rules. They govern these kids’ lives. They decided everything until they walked into the courtroom and said, ‘It ain’t us.’”

During the trial, Egdorf and Shrader utilized testimonies from three expert witnesses, Dr. Julie Schwartzbard, Dr. Robert Cantu, and Dr. Bennet Omalu, who all agreed that football concussions could lead to cognitive disorders and neurological diseases.

Unfortunately, after seven hours of deliberation, the jury found that the NCAA was not negligent in its dealings with Matthew Onyshko.  Of course, the legal team at Shrader & Associates, L.L.P. hasn’t given up on obtaining damages for Onyshko and his family. After court was adjourned, Attorney Egdorf told reporters, “We fully plan to appeal. Moreover, when Mr. Onyshko passes away, under Pennsylvania law, we can refuel the case as a wrongful death case. We intend to do that as well.”

Explore Your Legal Options Today

The lawyers at Shrader & Associates, L.L.P. are committed to going above and beyond for our clients. If you or a loved one has suffered medical complications as an NCAA athlete, contact our firm to explore your legal options with a qualified attorney. Our award-winning legal team can investigate your case, consult with specialists, and develop a litigation strategy that reflects your financial needs and legal objectives.

Contact Shrader & Associates L.L.P. at (877) 958-7920 to schedule a free consultation.


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