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Ohio Supreme Court rules lawsuit against Notre Dame can proceed

| Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the widow of a former Notre Dame football player’s lawsuit against both the University and the NCAA could proceed, an Associated Press (AP) article said. Yvette Schmitz is alleging that her husband, Steve, was adversely affected by concussions sustained during his football career at Notre Dame from 1974-1978. Steve Schmitz died in 2015.

“Steve and Yvette Schmitz filed a lawsuit in 2014 alleging the institutions showed ‘reckless disregard’ for player safety and failed to protect them from concussions,” the article said.

The slip opinion issued by the Ohio Supreme Court states Steve Schmitz was diagnosed with degenerative brain disease in 2012, which he claimed was related to numerous concussions before he died.

“By 2014, at age 58, [Schmitz] had been additionally diagnosed with severe memory loss, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, all of which he claimed were caused, aggravated, and/or magnified by the repetitive head impacts he sustained while playing football for Notre Dame,” the slip opinion said.

Both the University and the NCAA argued too much time has passed for the lawsuit to proceed, but the Ohio Supreme Court said it didn’t have enough facts to confirm that conclusion.

“The Supreme Court said Wednesday it couldn’t say the couple missed the two-year statute of limitations without more facts, and returned the case to the trial court,” the AP article said.

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