Player injured in off-season workouts sues UO, Taggart
A former University of Oregon football player is suing the college, former head coach Willie Taggart, former Ducks' strength coach Irele Oderinde and the NCAA for $11.5 million because he was injured during a strenuous off-season workout.
Former offensive lineman Doug Brenner of Portland, a Jesuit High School graduate, filed a 17-page lawsuit Wednesday, Jan. 9, in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Brenner's lawsuit seeks a judgment for injuries he suffered during the January 2017 workout, during which more than a dozen football players were injured.
Brenner is asking the court to award $6 million in noneconomic damages and $5.5 million in economic damages. Brenner's lawsuit claimed he suffered "permanent renal injury, shortening his life span by upwards of 10 years." His injuries "will permanently cause pain, discomfort, disability, humiliation, fear and interference with ordinary activities," to the lawsuit.
Taggart, who left the university in December 2017 to become the head football coach at Florida State University, has not yet commented on the lawsuit. Oderinde, who was dismissed from the University of Oregon program after the workouts, but hired in 2018 by Taggart as strength coach at FSU, also has not commented.
Officials from the University of Oregon and the NCAA have not commented on the lawsuit.
No court date has been set for the case.
The intense off-season workouts were held in January 2017 and involved strenuous early morning exercise and weightlifting sessions. After three days of workouts, 13 football players were hospitalized for several days with injuries tied to the workouts.
After an investigation and a public outcry, Taggart, who had been Oregon's head football coach for only a month, dismissed Oderinde from the program.
According to the lawsuit, Taggart and Oderinde "planned to subject the student athletes to an extreme physical regimen on the first day back from winter break as part of the coaches' efforts to, in Taggart's words, 'find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off.' The coaching defendants planned to impose a physically grueling training exercise that they developed over their years working together that would require the student athletes to exceed the outer limits of their will, discipline, strength and physical health."
Groups of 40 football players participated in several workout sessions, most beginning in the early morning. The workouts were not cleared ahead of the sessions by university medical staff, according to the lawsuit. Brenner claimed UO's athletic staff was negligent because it facilitated the workouts and the NCAA took no action after the incidents.