by Irvin Muchnick
The University of California’s absurd and overreaching appeal of our victory in the state Public Records Act case that liberated new documents on the cover-up of the circumstances of Ted Agu’s 2014 football conditioning death is newly relevant thanks to developments in neighboring Oregon.
Soon the California Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments in UC’s case, in which Concussion Inc. is being supported by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the First Amendment Coalition.
In the meantime, a trial is set to start tomorrow in former University of Oregon lineman Doug Brenner’s $100 million lawsuit over a 2017 extreme conditioning drill that left him and two teammates hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis. That is a condition in which overworked muscle tissue dies, breaks down, and enters the bloodstream. Rhabdo can cause permanent kidney damage, as in the case of the Oregon student-athletes, or death, as in the case of Cal’s Agu, a known sickle cell trait carrier who died of an associated exertional sickling attack.
The Eugene, Oregon, story had all the echoes of the one in Berkeley, California – including a maniacal strength and conditioning coach with a mandate from a new head coach to enforce “toughness” and “culture change.” And here we noted the parallels at the time in “With National Focus on New Oregon and Northern Michigan Cases, Heat Is on Cal Football For Honest Second Review of Strength and Conditioning Program,” January 18, 2017, https://concussioninc.net/?p=11763.
Yahoo Sports coverage of the Oregon court case is at https://sports.yahoo.com/ex-oregon-player-doug-brenner-files-million-lawsuit-alleging-permanent-damages-after-controversial-workouts-214732724.html.