Doug Brenner, one of the three Oregon football players hospitalized in 2017 after a series of intense workouts, is suing former coach Willie Taggart, conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, the NCAA and the University of Oregon.
Oderinde was suspended as a result of the workouts in 2017.
Taggart said at that time, "I have visited with the three young men involved in the incidents in the past few days and I have been in constant contact with their families, offering my sincere apologies. As the head football coach, I hold myself responsible for all of our football-related activities and the safety of our students must come first. I have addressed the issue with our strength and conditioning staff, and I fully support the actions taken today by the university. I want to thank our medical staff and doctors for caring for all of our young men, and I want to apologize to the university, our students, alumni and fans."
Brenner suffered rhabdomyolysis, a condition that occurs when muscle tissue breaks down and leaks into the bloodstream. For Brenner, it caused permanent kidney damage that may have shortened his lifespan by a decade or more, according to a document released by Brenner's legal team.
"The drills were done in unison, and whenever a player faltered, vomited, or fainted, his teammates were immediately punished with additional repetitions," said Mark McDougal, of Brenner’s legal team.
"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. Guidelines, however, are only suggestions. The NCAA needs to enact and enforce binding regulations that outlaw these practices," McDougal said.
The University of Oregon released the following statement on Wednesday:
The well-being and safety of our students are our top priorities at the University of Oregon. We have been advised of the litigation filed today but have not been served a copy of the complaint, at which point we will respond appropriately in the court proceedings. In light of the pending litigation, we don’t have any additional comment at this time.
Brenner said he is still a fan of the Ducks, but he hopes that this lawsuit will help save other football players from serious injury.
In 2017, the mother of Sam Poutasi, another Oregon football player, also said he suffered from rhabdomyolysis as a result of overexertion from the same workout.