Former Ducks lineman Doug Brenner’s lawsuit paints football practice as if it were U.S. Marines basic training.
“The drills were done in unison, and whenever a player faltered, vomited, or fainted, his teammates were immediately punished with additional repetitions,” says Mark McDougal, of Brenner’s legal team.
Brenner filed a lawsuit today seeking compensation for permanent damage to his kidneys. Named defendants are former coach Willie Taggart, former strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, NCAA and the University of Oregon. He is seeking payment of $6 million for noneconomic damages and $5.5 million in economic damages. A total of $11.5 million.
As reported by The Oregonian, Brenner was one of three players hospitalized as a result of these workouts due to rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which the body eats its own muscles and goes on to damage the body.
“The well-being and safety of our students are our top priorities at the University of Oregon,” says Molly Blancett, UO’s interim spokesperson. “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.”
Taggart and Oderinde developed these workout drills and was intended to break the spirit of the players, Brenner’s legal staff alleges in a statement. Furthermore, during practice, players were deprived of water and had discolored urine, the statement says.
“If anyone wants to quit on their team, feel free to stop. If you want to give up on your team, then you can,” the lawsuit recounts Oderinde’s comments to players.
The suit alleges that when a player wanted to rest due to pain in his shoulder, Oderinde replied: “I don’t give a fuck about your shoulders! Do you think Stanford gives a fuck about your shoulders?”
The lawsuit said Taggart hired Oderinde despite not having industry required certification to be a strength and conditioning coach. In addition, Taggart knew that the physical drills went beyond his duty and authority as an employee of the University of Oregon.
Brenner’s legal staff said his life expectancy has decreased by 10 years because of the workouts and lost a future career in football.
NCAA is named as a defendant because it has guidelines that prohibit such workouts and knew Taggart and Oderinde were conducting the workouts.
Despite his lifelong injuries, Brenner says he’ll still be rooting for Duck Football. The lawsuit is about protecting future players.
“Nothing would make me happier than to have this case save other football players from serious injury,” he said in a statement.
EW has reached out to the lawsuit’s defendants and will update this story.