PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A former Oregon Ducks football player is speaking out after filing a lawsuit against the University of Oregon, the NCAA and former coaches.
Doug Brenner filed the $11.5 million lawsuit this week. On Thursday, he addressed the workouts that he says took 10 years off his life expectancy.
Brenner and two other players were hospitalized following the workouts in January 2017.
Brenner said his kidneys will never be the same after suffering from a serious condition called rhabdomyolysis, causing muscle tissue to break down and leak into the bloodstream.
“When we got there for the first workout, they had trashcans lining the balcony for us to throw up in,” Brenner said Thursday.
Brenner said head coach Willie Taggart, who coached the Ducks for one season before taking the head coaching job at Florida State University, was trying to make a point with the practice.
“In Taggart’s own words, he said he was trying to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off,” Brenner said.
Brenner’s attorney Greg Kafoury of said if one player faltered, threw up or passed out, everyone else had to do more drills, causing “tremendous internal pressure to not give up.”
Brenner said he was a captain and leader on the team.
“If I would have stopped, it would have major implications. I probably wouldn't have played again. They were trying to see who was going to quit,” he said.
Brenner said his body finally gave out on the last day of the workouts. He said he remembers losing vision. It got worse in the days ahead.
“My pee was black. Looked like coffee. My arms were so big and swollen, I couldn’t take my own shirt off. I couldn’t even reach my face to eat,” he said.
Brenner said Taggart, strength coach Irele Oderinde, the university and the NCAA all failed him and other student-athletes by not having regulations in place to prevent situations like this.
Brenner did go on to play during the 2017 season for the Ducks and he also just completed his master’s degree from the university. He says he loves the school, but believes there needs to be change.
“My body is ruined. My kidneys are damaged. My life might be shorter because of this,” he said.
The University of Oregon released a statement regarding the lawsuit saying, “The well-being and safety of our students are our top priorities at the University of Oregon. 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 addressed the hospitalization of the players in 2017, saying, “It wasn't nothing malicious that was going on there. I’ve never been a part of anything like that, trying to break kids down and hurt him. We would never do anything to hurt our players.”
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