NCAA owes Duty of Care to protect against debilitating effects of concussions

United States Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania recommended the denial of the Motion to Dismiss filed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in a lawsuit filed by Matthew and Jessica Onyshko.  The NCAA moved for dismissal of the action, arguing that the Onyshkos did not allege sufficient facts in their Complaint to support their negligence claim; in particular, that the NCAA owed a legal duty to Mr. Onyshko.

Onyshko suffers from a progressive brain and spinal cord injury with ALS-like symptoms caused by repeated head trauma during his college football career as a linebacker at California University of Pennsylvania.  He and his wife filed suit against the NCAA in December 2013, alleging that the NCAA breached its duty to warn or take effective action to protect him from the long-term effects of concussions and sub-concussive blows to the head suffered while playing NCAA collegiate football.

In recommending denial of the NCAA’s Motion to Dismiss, Magistrate Judge Eddy stated that the Onyshkos alleged sufficient facts in their Complaint to proceed with their negligence claim against the NCAA.  Onyshko, who is employed as a firefighter with the city of Pittsburgh, awaits a decision on the recommendation by District Judge Cathy Bissoon.  The NCAA has until June 16 to file Objections to Judge Eddy’s Report and Recommendation.

The lawsuit was filed by Jason Luckasevic, Esquire, with Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. of Pittsburgh, a personal injury law firm.