The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have been named as defendants in a lawsuit brought by the estate of Ryan Hoffman, who played college football for the North Carolina Tarheels in the 1990s. Hoffman, aged 41, was killed in November, 2016, when he was hit by a car while riding a bike on an unlit section of Highway 17-92 in Haines City, Florida.
An autopsy performed after his death determined that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition found in many former football players. Experts say it’s typically associated with repetitive brain trauma, including concussions. The lawsuit, filed by the personal representatives of Hoffman’s estate, alleges negligence, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The complaint alleges that the NCAA and the ACC both knew of the risk of concussion, as well as the potential health risks associated with the impact on a college football line. The lawsuit also charges the groups with knowingly profiting from Hoffman’s services, and seeks reimbursement of medical expenses, lost earnings and out-of-pocket expenses.
Hoffman, a native of Jacksonville, starred on the offensive line, playing almost every play in his final season in 1997. During his playing days, he came in at 6’5″ and 287 pounds. Hospital officials said he had dropped more than 100 pounds by the time of his death.
According to family members, Hoffman married and had a family after leaving college, but started experiencing mental and physical health problems almost immediately. He apparently had severe headaches, sensitivity to light and became depressed. At the time of his death, he had been mostly homeless for nearly a year, living on the streets in Lakeland, Florida.
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