ASU, NCAA sued over death of former linebacker who suffered from CTE

Jason Franklin's father, Gregg, claimed the NCAA and the University mishandled his son's concussions

The father of former ASU linebacker Jason Franklin has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University and the NCAA, claiming his son's suicide, and a possible nervous breakdown that led up to it, was the result of multiple concussions he suffered during the five seasons he played with the program.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Gregg Franklin, Jason's father, claimed that the mismanagement of concussions sustained by Jason contributed to him developing the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 

The lawsuit aims for class-action status for all now-deceased ASU players from 1952-2015 who were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, CTE, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

“Unfortunately, while defendants (ASU and NCAA) knew about the harmful and devastating effects of these sub-concussive and concussive injuries, they recklessly ignored these facts and failed to implement reasonable concussion management protocols to protect its athletes, including Jason Franklin,” the lawsuit said.

ASU Athletics declined to comment on the filing, as the University does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Franklin sustained four concussions as primarily a scout team player for the Sun Devils during his career. The lawsuit said Franklin had become fixated on conspiracy theories after his ASU career and at one point experienced a psychotic episode where he believed that he was Jesus.

Franklin died by suicide at his house in Arizona in July 2018, three years following the conclusion of his playing days. It was only until after his death when doctors at Boston University found that the former Sun Devil had CTE, with one doctor noting that his case was "advanced" for someone his age.

Franklin only appeared in three games while at ASU and originally walked-on to the team as a freshman.


Reach the reporter at kbriley@asu.edu and on Twitter @KokiRiley.

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