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Former football player's lawsuit against NCAA and U of O goes to trial


The NCAA, University of Oregon, and former Ducks football coach Willie Taggart are defendants in a lawsuit that begins trial tomorrow 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, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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