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Houston Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > General > Arizona State University Sued After Linebacker with CTE Takes Own Life

Arizona State University Sued After Linebacker with CTE Takes Own Life


Arizona State University and the NCAA have both been named in a lawsuit after the tragic death of former ASU linebacker Jason Franklin. The suit has been filed by Franklin’s father, George. The lawsuit alleges that the team did not take safety measures for dealing with concussions when Franklin was a walk-on linebacker with the school.

Franklin took his own life in 2016 after experiencing severe psychiatric illness including a deterioration of his mood and a psychotic episode in which he became convinced that he was Jesus Christ.

The Allegations Against ASU 

This lawsuit is going to present a serious problem for ASU. Franklin suffered four concussions while he was a linebacker with the university, but three of the four occurred in the summer of 2014. Three concussions happening so closely together is well-known to be life-threatening.

When an individual experiences a concussion, their brain swells, but it doesn’t swell too much. Too much swelling would result in too much intracranial pressure and that would lead to brain damage and even death. When a second concussion happens before the first one has healed, the brain’s internal sensor for swelling is shut off. The brain continues to swell, even to a dangerous extent.

This is why the NFL now has a concussion protocol where players are forced to sit out a specific amount of time after a concussion. The threat of a second concussion before the first one has healed is serious. According to the plaintiffs, ASU took liberties with their student-athletes and allowed Franklin to play through several concussions.

An autopsy revealed that Franklin showed signs of CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It was then that George Franklin filed a lawsuit against ASU who he says did not take the proper precautions and this led to his son’s death.

The Defense

The plaintiffs must be able to prove that the CTE was directly responsible for Franklin’s psychiatric problems and suicide. This is no easy feat. The defense will likely attempt to explain the aberrant behavior some other way.

As an example of a possible defense, they can claim that Franklin suffered from bipolar disorder. Symptoms of bipolar disorder generally occur in the early 20’s. Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood disturbances and in some cases, psychosis.

In other words, the defense can make a case that there are several possibilities for Franklin’s condition and CTE is simply among them.

The plaintiffs are filing for class status. This means that any individual who played NCAA football from 1952 to 2015 and who also experienced symptoms of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a related neurological problem can file a claim.

Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney

If you believe a sports-related injury is reducing your quality of life, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.



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