Onyshko brought attention to the dangerous effects of concussions with the lawsuit he filed against the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
By Ashlee Green
Photo courtesy of O’Brien’s Funeral Home
Matthew Onyshko, a City of Pittsburgh firefighter and resident of Brighton Heights, died on Sunday, March 6, 2022. He was 41 years old.
Onyshko worked at the Historic Deutschtown Firehouse for about 16 years. He was a linebacker for the California University of Pennsylvania football team from 2000 to 2003. In 2013, he made waves for a lawsuit he filed against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which alleged that the concussions he experienced during his football career led to him developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS.
Onyshko appeared twice on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In his first appearance, in October of 2014, he and his wife, Jessica, talked about his experience with ALS and how following his diagnosis, his colleagues at the Historic Deutschtown Firehouse began covering his work shifts to make sure that his immediate family still received paychecks and benefits.
“Our condolences and sincere sympathies to the Onyshko family,” wrote John Cooley, a veteran firefighter, on Onyshko’s online Tribute Wall. “We are always saddened when we lose one of our own.”