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Agu v. Regents of the University of California: Suit for Wrongful Death

In February 2014, University of California, Berkley (“Cal”) football student-athlete Ted Agu collapsed following a morning training run and ultimately died. Agu had the sickle cell trait. His family has now brought a wrongful death suit against Cal. The suit claims Agu collapsed while running up a hill ten times while attached to a rope and calls the training “a lethal conditioning drill for a player with known sickle cell trait.” The suit further alleges that Cal trainers and coaches were reckless and negligent for requiring Agu to take part in training of this kind in light of the potential complications associated with the sickle cell trait. In an odd twist, Cal associate athletic trainer Robert Jackson was also present and served as a trainer when Ereck Plancher of the University of Central Florida collapsed during a training session in 2008 (Plancher also had the sickle cell trait). The suit sets forth that Cal is also negligent for hiring Jackson to serve as a trainer in light of his presence during Plancher’s collapse. Agu’s family seeks unspecified damages.

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