Former USC All-American, plaintiff in head-trauma suit, dies at 45

Scott Ross, an All-American linebacker at USC who would go on to sue the NFL over head trauma, died Sunday in Lafayette, La., the school announced Tuesday. He was 45.

The school’s website stated Ross died of heart failure. The website Inside USC, citing a friend of Ross, said his body was found in a church parking lot.

Ross played at USC from 1987-90, playing in three Rose Bowls, earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors three times and being named first-team All-American his senior season. He was drafted in the 11th round by the Saints in 1991, but played in only four games, according to Ross sued the NFL in 2012, claiming the league at the time ignored and concealed the risk of injury. That suit, which alleged Ross "suffers from severe memory loss, cognitive dementia, and, on information and belief, chronic traumatic encephalopathy ("CTE"), a condition caused by repetitive sub-concussive and/or concussive blows to the head," was later consolidated into a larger suit with about 5,000 other such suits.

In 1996, Ross returned to USC to complete his bachelor’s degree then moved on to a career in sales and marketing, according to the school.

Ross’ survivors include his daughter Caroline, 13, his parents Marshall and Janie, and his brother Jason. USC is planning a memorial service for Oct. 25.