Ex-UNC player’s estate sues ACC, NCAA over concussions

Keywords Courts / Government

Representatives of a former North Carolina football player’s estate are suing the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Indianapolis-based NCAA, saying they ignored the dangers of concussions and it led to Ryan Hoffman’s death.

Sandra LaMountain and Noah Hoffman brought the 39-page lawsuit on behalf of Ryan Hoffman’s estate and filed it Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

They allege negligence, breach of express contract and unjust enrichment. They argue that both groups failed to protect and promote the safety and well-being of the players, and breached a contract with the players by failing to properly educate and warn them of the long-term risks of concussions.

They request class-action status and a jury trial, and seek damages that include past, present and future medical expenses, lost future earnings and other out-of-pocket expenses.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the organization had no comment and has not received the lawsuit. ACC spokeswoman Amy Yakola said the conference’s policy is to decline comment on ongoing litigation.

Ryan Hoffman, an offensive lineman for North Carolina in the 1990s, died in November 2016 at age 41 when he rode his bike into traffic and was struck by a car. Doctors who later analyzed his brain found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease found in people who’ve suffered repetitive brain trauma such as concussions.

LaMountain and Noah Hoffman in 2016 were appointed co-personal representatives of Hoffman’s estate by a judge in Florida, where they and Ryan Hoffman lived.

The lawsuit states the ACC and NCAA “knew of the harmful effects of (traumatic brain injury) on student-athletes for decades, they ignored these facts and failed to institute any meaningful methods of warning and/or protecting the student-athletes, including the football players.

“For Defendants, the continued expansion and operation of college football was simply too profitable to put at risk,” the lawsuit continued.

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