Former Fighting Irish running back and wide receiver Steven T. Schmitz, who is deceased, is suing Notre Dame and the NCAA for “failing to protect a former player from brain injuries during his college career” according to The Springfield News-Sun.
Schmitz played for Notre Dame from 1974-78. After suffering several symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) such as severe memory loss, cognitive decline and demenia, he died in Feb. 2015.
He and his wife, Yvette, filed suit in Oct. 2014 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, which was less than two years after the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed him with CTE. That court ruled Schmitz waited too long to file the case, but The Springfield News-Sun reports the 8th District Court of Appeals overturned that decision.
When the case goes to the Ohio Supreme Court next week, Notre Dame and the NCAA will argue the deadline for the Schmitz family to file the lawsuit ended before they were able to do so, but the deadline on when Schmitz needed to file the suit depends upon whether CTE is considered a latent disease or a latent effect of an injury.
CTE is a brain disease becoming more common among athletes who have a history of repetitive hits to the head. It’s been most prevalent in former football players and gained attention over the last decade through the media and medical research.
Notre Dame and the NCAA will appeal the suit in the Ohio Supreme Court on April 11.