In a wrongful death lawsuit filed last Friday, the mother of former San Marcos High School football player Doug MacKenzie attributes his death at age 59 to brain damage suffered when he played fullback at USC from 1978 to 1981.
“Our family has filed this lawsuit against the NCAA to make a difference,” Dorothy MacKenzie-Schmidt said in a statement. “Too many football players have gone on to develop brain disease, including my son Doug, and the time for change has come. We want football to be as safe as it can be, and we want student-athletes to be aware of the terrible consequences that concussions early on can have throughout their lives.”
MacKenzie died at home in Santa Barbara on February 25, 2018. He suffered a stroke in 2016. MacKenzie-Schmidt’s complaint states that he suffered from periods of delirium and depression.
The Chicago-based law firm that represents MacKenzie-Schmidt announced similar actions on behalf of three other families of deceased football players from UCLA, San Diego State and Grand Valley State. The lawsuits allege the NCAA did not properly inform the players of the risks of long-term damage from traumatic head injuries.
As a fullback at USC, MacKenzie blocked for two tailbacks, Marcus Allen and Charles White, who won the Heisman Trophy.
“He did a lot of heavy blocking in college,” said Bob Archer, an assistant football coach at San Marcos when MacKenzie was a power-runner for the Royals. “He was a rhinoceros,” Archer said. “He would just come after you, no fear.”