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Former football player’s lawsuit against NCAA and University of Oregon goes to trial

Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington II (7) celebrates his touchdown with Doug Brenner (57) and Calvin Throckmorton (54), at an NCAA college football game against UC Davis in Eugene on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Brenner is one of three former football players suing the university, the NCAA and former coach Willie Taggart after they were hospitalized following workouts where water was withheld.
Thomas Boyd
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Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington II (7) celebrates his touchdown with Doug Brenner (57) and Calvin Throckmorton (54), at an NCAA college football game against UC Davis in Eugene on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Brenner is one of three former football players suing the university, the NCAA and former coach Willie Taggart after they were hospitalized following workouts where water was withheld.

The NCAA, University of Oregon, and former Ducks football coach Willie Taggart are defendants in a lawsuit that begins trial Tuesday in Lane County Circuit Court.

The suit was filed in 2019, and alleges that a series of controversial workouts caused irreparable harm to former UO lineman Doug Brenner. He and two other players were hospitalized after a series of workouts where water was allegedly denied players.

Damages sought are $100 million from the NCAA and $25 million from the university. Attorney Gregory Kafoury of the Portland law firm Kafoury & McDougal, represents Brenner.

“The real struggle in the case is going to be about the role of the NCAA in allowing these kinds of punishing workout drills that are irrational, and serve no good purpose, and break the health of otherwise healthy men,” he said in a phone interview with KLCC.

Kafoury adds Brenner’s injuries cost him an NFL career. He said he expects the trial to last three weeks, and hopes that the NCAA addresses an ongoing issue at many universities and colleges.

Neither Taggart nor a former conditioning coach also named as a defendant, Irele Oderinde, are at the UO anymore.

Another lawsuit was filed by former UO lineman Sam Poutasi.

The University of Oregon did not respond to requests for comment, but in a Register-Guard article, disagreed with claims made in the lawsuit:

“The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. There was a quick response to Doug Brenner’s injury and he was provided the best care possible. We are grateful that he made a full recovery and was able to play during the 2017 season and graduate from the University of Oregon. We disagree with the claims made by Mr. Brenner’s attorney in their lawsuit and will address those in court.”
Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. He is a 20-year reporter who has worked at NPR, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including three Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award in 2012.