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UC Berkeley Settles with Family in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Shalini Shah6 months ago

The University of California, Berkeley has settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a now deceased football player.

About the Settlement

The 21-year-old Ted Agu died in 2014 during a conditioning workout. Agu was a carrier of sickle cell trait blood abnormality and died on February 7, 2014 near the California Memorial Stadium on the Berkeley campus after an exhausting conditioning drill.

The sickle cell crisis can occur during intense exercise and those with the trait are vulnerable to dehydration and low oxygen.

The family of Agu claims the drill was extremely intense and inappropriate given his medical condition. Reuters reports that Berkeley trainers and coaches ignored Agu’s serious signs of fatigue.

The University of California, Berkeley and the family have settled the lawsuit for $4.75 million. The school has stated that since Agu’s death, they have taken steps to reform training for coaches and staff to require more oversight of their workout plans.

Information Regarding Sickle Cell Trait

Those who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have the sickle cell trait (SCT). They usually do not have any symptoms of sickle cell disease, but can pass this trait on.

Most people with SCT do not have any symptoms, but in rare cases they can experience complications of those with sickle cell disease (SCD).

It has been shown that those with SCT can experience stroke and muscle breakdown during intense exercise, like competitive sports or military training under unfavorable temperatures.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people with SCT who participate in competitive or team sports should be careful when doing training or conditioning activities. To prevent illness for those with SCT, it is important to:

  • Set your own pace and build your intensity slowly
  • Rest often in between sets and drills
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after training
  • Keep the body temperature cool while training in hot and humid temperatures
  • Immediately seek medical attention when feeling ill


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