Former Oklahoma Team Doctor Eichner: “Football ‘conditioning’ is out of control and killing our kids”

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Last week Dr. E. Randy Eichner was a main voice in Concussion Inc.’s article analyzing how newly disclosed documents in our California Public Records Act case offer convincing evidence that Cal football player Ted Agu’s 2014 death, initially mis-attributed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), should have been recognized immediately as exertional collapse associated with sickle cell trait (ECAST).

See “NEW TED AGU PAPERS: Background of University of California Team Doctor’s Deception of Coroner in 2014 Football Death Is Revealed in Internal Emails,” https://concussioninc.net/?p=13231.

Eichner, a leading expert on ECAST and football conditioning deaths, was a consultant in the Agu family’s subsequent lawsuit against the UC Regents, which settled for $4.75 million. Indeed, Eichner was perhaps the single most important figure in persuading the Alameda County medical examiner’s office that it should change its original finding of cause of death, HCM, to reflect that it was an ECAST episode.

Eichner is a retired football team physician at the University of Oklahoma, and he writes a regular column, called “Pearls & Pitfalls,” for the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports, which is published by the American College of Sports Medicine. Here we are pleased to link to his column in the September issue, at https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2018/09000/College_Football___Conditioning_Them_to_Death_.2.aspx.

In this piece, Eichner notes that a National Collegiate Athletic Association program “for screening and commonsense training precautions” for sickle cell trait (SCT), which began in 2010, has dramatically reduced ECAST deaths at the college level of football. There were 10 documented ECAST deaths in the decade prior to the program and only one since — Agu’s.

Other life-threatening syndromes in college football conditioning “continue apace,” at unacceptably high levels — notably, deaths by heat stroke or cardiac episodes.

“We in sports medicine ought to do more to help end these tragedies,” Eichner concludes. “Football ‘conditioning’ is out of control and killing our kids.”

 

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2017 op-ed article for the Daily Californian on my Public Records Act lawsuit: http://www.dailycal.org/2017/04/25/lawsuit-uc-regents-emblematic-issues-facing-college-football/

Second op-ed article for the Daily Californian (published May 4): http://www.dailycal.org/2018/05/03/years-later-questions-remain-regarding-football-player-ted-agus-death/

“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,” https://concussioninc.net/?p=10931

Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series: https://concussioninc.net/?p=10877

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