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NCAA Hit With New Post-Suicide Football Concussion Suit

March 27, 2019, 7:14 PM

The estate of a former Washington State University football player has joined hundreds of other former players who say the NCAA, colleges, and football conferences didn’t do enough to protect them from repetitive brain injuries in the sport.

The March 27 suit by the family of Dorian Boose makes allegations nearly identical to those in more than 370 class cases filed by ex-college players around the nation, but there’s a difference.

Boose hanged himself in 2016 after a dramatic decline in his cognitive abilities, the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana says.

An autopsy concluded that Boose’s brain had experienced “prominent neurodegenerative changes” that correlated with his “history of progressive decline in cognitive function and behavioral abnormalities.”

Those changes, his family says, were caused by concussions and countless sub-concussive hits during his career, and the NCAA’s failure to provide medical care and monitoring and care it knew was necessary.

Boose played for Washington State from 1995 to 1998. He later played professional in the NFL for the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins.

The complaint seeks a class comprised of “all authorized representatives of deceased or legally incapacitated individuals who participated in WSU’s varisty football program between 1952 and 2010.”

The NCAA, however, recently told Bloomberg Law the collective cases are meritless and that it “looks forward to correcting the factual and legal record.”

Causes of Action: Wrongful death, negligence, breach of contract, fraudulent concealment

Relief: Class certification, compensatory and punitive damages, interest, lost earnings, and future damages, injunction and a declaratory judgment

Response: The NCAA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on this new case.

Attorneys: Raizner Slania LLP and Edelson PC.

The case is Boose v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Assoc., S.D. Ind., No. 19-cv-01234, filed 3/27/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven M. Sellers in Washington at ssellers@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com