In Apparent Violation of NCAA Rules, Nebraska College Claims It Didn’t Know of Football Player’s Ted Agu-Like, Sickle Cell-Caused, Conditioning Death

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by Irvin Muchnick

The University of California-Berkeley obstructed justice, in my view, when it withheld from the county coroner full knowledge that Ted Agu was a carrier of sickle cell disease trait when he collapsed multiple times before dying in a bizarre and extreme 2014 punishment drill directed by football coach Sonny Dykes’ strength and conditioning assistant, Damon Harrington.

New information on the recent death of Eric Goll at Chadron State College in Nebraska — which Concussion Inc. first reported last week — suggests a different benighted path: an institution that claims it never knew the victim had sickle cell trait. Goll had been on the Chadron State team in 2014; he returned three days before he fell dead on August 11.

At, the editor of the Rapid City (South Dakota) Journal, Kerri Rempp, writes that a review of Goll’s medical records:


indicates he had previously tested positive for sickle cell trait in July 2015 during a physical to play football at Florida A&M University. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires that all athletes playing Division I, II and III sports must be screened for sickle cell trait or sign a waiver declining the test.

Joel Smith, CSC’s athletic director, said Monday that the college does not transfer records from other colleges but instead requires the student-athletes to take the physical or sign the waiver here. Director of College Relations Alex Helmbrecht told the Record Tuesday afternoon that Goll signed the waiver and declined to disclose his SCT condition to Chadron State College.

“Chadron State College only learned that he had sickle cell trait after he died,” Helmbrecht said.


In my introduction to the ebook THE TED AGU PAPERS (the royalties from which benefit sickle cell research and education), I made the observation that football kills and disables across so many pathological platforms that no single one — perhaps not even the trendy one of traumatic brain injury — is precisely the point: “[I]t doesn’t really matter whether the direct cause of an individual death of a kid who was ill-advisedly pushed into football’s existential excesses was brain trauma, spinal injury, internal organ devastation, asthma, sickle cell, or the common cold. The last time I (and their parents) checked, they were all just as dead.”

This sentence was rhetorical, in that the issue of concussive and subconcussive damage does, of course, have a unique moral character. The same could be said of sickle cell trait (SCT), which is not to be confused with sickle cell disease. Researchers, most notably E. Randy Eichner at the University of Oklahoma, have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that SCT is a uniquely pernicious, yet under-the-radar, killer of African-American football players. The reason it lurks without headlines is entangled in the politics of both football mania and black disenfranchisement. I’ll have more to say about all this shortly.


“eBook Bonus: Introduction to ‘Ted Agu Papers,’ Cal Football Death Cover-Up,”

“Table of Contents of the New eBook ‘TED AGU PAPERS’,”

Amazon Kindle link:

“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,”

Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series:

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick