A Houston attorney is making the NCAA answer for a former Longhorn’s disturbing autopsy

Fans stand as the American flag is marched on the field at AT&T stadium before the start of an NFL football game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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A Houston attorney filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) claiming that unsafe playing conditions led to a fatal brain injury to a former University of Texas football player.

Attorney Gene Egdorf is representing the widow of Greg Ploetz, a defensive tackle for the Texas Longhorns from 1968 to 1971.

Mr. Ploetz died in May 2015 at the age of 66. An autopsy revealed he had Stage IV chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease found in people who have had multiple concussions or other traumatic head injuries.

The suit claims that the NCAA “failed to educate its football-playing athletes, like Gregory Ploetz, on the long-term, life-altering risks and consequences of head trauma in football.”

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Reports of CTE have surfaced among numerous former collegiate and professional football players. A recent autopsy on the late Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015, revealed he had Stage III CTE.

Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell in April 2017.

“If I represented Hernandez, in light of his young age, I certainly would have sued the NCAA,” Egdorf told a local newspaper. “The severity of [Hernandez’s] CTE certainly helps in proving the causal link to football.”

Egdorf also said he would have sued the Southeastern Conference on behalf of Hernandez, since the tight end played three seasons at the University of Florida before declaring for the NFL draft.

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Egdorf has some previous success suing the NFL. He represented former Texans punter Brett Hartmann in his 2012 lawsuit against Harris County and SMG. The suit claimed that the playing surface at then-Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium) caused Hartmann to suffer a career ending injury in 2011. The two sides reached a settlement in 2015 for an undisclosed amount.

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