Attorney Analyzes Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Ruling in Onyshko

Sep 10, 2021 | Negligence

The NCAA may be losing court cases on multiple fronts, but when it comes to concussion litigation, the association appears to be holding its own.

Most recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to reconsider a lawsuit brought by a former college football player, Matthew Onyshko, who blamed the NCAA for brain injuries that left him debilitated and in a wheelchair.

The ruling came after Onyshko appealed the decision of a Pennsylvania Superior Court, which also refused to revive the case.

“On September 2, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a  per curiam denial of Onyshko’s Petition for Allowance of appeal, signaling what is for now the end of Matthew and Jessica Onyshko’s legal effort to link his ALS to his college football career,” Anthony Corleto of Gordon & Rees told Sports Litigation Alert.

“In May 2019, a Pennsylvania Jury returned a verdict in favor of the NCAA, finding no liability. In October 2019, the court denied Onyshko’s post trial motion to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial, arguing among other things that the court incorrectly excluded the opinion of Dr. Bennet Omalu. In March of this year, an appellate panel (mentioned above) affirmed the post-trial order, adopting it ‘as their own.’

“Onyshko’s legal team has stated publicly that they intend to bring a wrongful death suit when he ultimately and presumably passes due to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). A few things have to happen for that to succeed. First, science has to advance to the point that ALS as a disease process and his ultimate death can be tied to his athletic experience.  Second, the court would have to hold the NCAA to a standard of care based on that newly found causal connection between football and ALS.  Neither of which is likely to happen.”

A previous story was written on the Superior Court and can be found in SLA Vol. 18, Iss. 5.

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