Widow of former SDSU, Chargers linebacker files wrongful death lawsuit against NCAA

Jeff Staggs (Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune)

SAN DIEGO – The widow of former San Diego State and San Diego Chargers linebacker Jeffery “Jeff” Staggs filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NCAA on Monday.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Sarah Staggs claims her husband was “injured, incapacitated and died” as a result of the NCAA’s “reckless disregard for his health” while he played at SDSU in 1965 and 1966.

Jeff Staggs went on to play for the San Diego Chargers from 1967 to 1972 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 before returning to the Chargers at the end of his career in 1974. He died at age 70 in 2014. A brain autopsy revealed he had been suffering from CTE, according to the complaint.

Three other family members of deceased college football players have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the NCAA since Friday, also alleging the players’ concussions caused brain disease that led to their premature deaths.