Austin Gay/Associated Press
Former Oregon offensive lineman Doug Brenner is seeking $11.5 million in damages in a lawsuit levied against the NCAA, the University of Oregon, former head coach Willie Taggart and former strength coach Irele Oderinde, according to James Crepea of The Oregonian.
According to the report:
“Brenner’s attorneys allege the University of Oregon was negligent for failing to prohibit, regulate or supervise the workouts, which they describe as ‘physical punishment regimens.’ The lawsuit also alleges that Taggart and Oderinde, both now at Florida State, were negligent in imposing and carrying out the workouts, and that the NCAA has failed to regulate such practices by coaches of its member institutions.”
Brenner was hospitalized in January 2017 with “rhabdomyolysis and subsequent injuries” after a series of intense offseason workouts.
Brenner is seeking damages both for the medical bills he accrued due to the workouts and the “severe injuries, some of which are permanent, permanent renal injury, a shortening of his life span by upwards of 10 years, increased susceptibility of kidney failure, kidney disease, and death, severe physical and emotional pain, [and premature death] and an impaired opportunity to play football in college and thereafter.”
According to Crepea, offensive lineman Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were also hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis which “results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream” and “can lead to serious complications such as renal failure,” per WebMD.
Neither Poutasi or McCormick is a part of the lawsuit.
One of Brenner’s lawyers, Mark McDougal, described the offseason workouts that Taggart and Oderinde allegedly instituted:
“The drills were done in unison, and whenever a player faltered, vomited, or fainted, his teammates were immediately punished with additional repetitions. A key goal of this lawsuit is to force the NCAA to ban these kinds of punishing, abusive workouts. These workouts are contrary to NCAA guidelines for protecting players from injury and death. The NCAA needs to enact and enforce regulations that outlaw these practices.”
Crepea reported that sources indicated that water was made available to the players during the workouts when they were allowed breaks and that some of Oregon’s players involved in the workouts “downplayed” them in social media posts at the time, though Oderinde was suspended for a month without pay by the program in January 2017.
Taggart is now the head coach at Florida State, and Oderinde is now the strength and conditioning coach for the Seminoles.