After months of negotiations and litigation, the University of California and the family of university football player Ted Agu, who died after a team drill in 2014, have settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $4.75 million, SFGate reports.
Agu, then 21, died shortly after an off-season conditioning workout outside the Memorial Stadium. His parents filed a lawsuit, claiming that the defensive lineman and premed student should never have been allowed to do such a strenuous workout because he carried the sickle cell trait, a condition that university doctors and coaches knew about.
The university admitted liability in the young man’s death three months ago, with UC attorneys acknowledging that negligence by university officials was “a substantial factor” in Agu’s death, and that no one else, not even Agu himself, was responsible. SFGate notes that experts believe the sickle cell trait can lead to death under extreme exertion.
“The university is glad to have reached a resolution with the Agu family, as it has been a difficult process for everyone involved,” Dan Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesman, said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, health and safety reforms are now guaranteed for school athletes at Berkeley, with school officials saying that they were sharing the standards with athletic departments at other campuses, too.
Coaches are not permitted to use “high-risk physical activity” as punishment, and superiors will review workout and conditioning plans. Coaches and team doctors were also mandated to increase their education about the sickle cell trait and complications that can come with it.
“We were never going to accept just money,” Steve Yerrid, one of the attorneys representing Agu’s family, said, according to SFGate. “The most unnatural act in the world is for a parent to bury their child.”
A memorial display for Agu in the university team’s home locker room will also be kept intact permanently, and the school will also ensure that workouts will be conducted only when staffers have direct line of sight to athletes.
Read more at SFGate.