Cal Athletics held their press conference on the death of Ted Agu this afternoon. Cal head coach Sonny Dykes, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour, and team physician Casey Batten were present, as was UC Berkeley executive director of public affairs Dan Mogulof.
As part of offseason conditioning for the Cal football program, Agu was on a run that was supervised by multiple medical personnel. The run took place near Bowles Hall, most likely in the Berkeley Hills overlooking Memorial Stadium. When he had difficulty completing the run, he was stopped, placed on a cart and taken back to the Simpson Center. According to Batten, the run was "regular and routine".
Agu was communicative through most of the ride back before becoming non-responsive at the north tunnel of Memorial Stadium. Batten comments that "As far as I understand it, he was on the back of the cart, he was talking, he was hydrating and did not exhibit any signs of labored breathing until we got to the north tunnel."
CPR was applied and EMTs were notified when he was then transported to Alta Bates and pronounced dead at the hospital. Agu collapsed at 7 am.
Batten said that he’s worked with Ted since he came here and that he’s never experienced problems with any workout or practice.
The coroner now takes charge of the case. It will be 6-8 weeks before anyone can determine the cause of death.
UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health dean Stefano Bertozzi issued a statement about Agu, who was majoring in the program:
"Ted’s untimely death is a great shock; not only was he a star athlete on the Cal football team, but he was also a strong student with plans for medical school. Those who knew him have commented that despite having the impressive physicality of a football player, he had a charming warmth of character. Ted demonstrated strong leadership skills, serving as an informal peer adviser for incoming freshman football players. He was passionate about using the influence of football players and coaches to improve healthy behaviors among youth in our community and was planning to work with the School on a project related to this. He will long be remembered."
We will try and have more quotes and video as they become available.
Sandy Barbour in tears. Sonny Dykes extremely emotional as well.— Ann Killion (@annkillion) February 7, 2014
Team meeting this morning: "Nobody will ever forget that scene," says Dan Mogulof.— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) February 7, 2014
Sonny Dykes on Ted Agu: "Ted's the ultimate team guy. He came here because he loved the game."— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) February 7, 2014
#Cal HC Sonny Dykes on Ted Agu: "He's what's good about college athletics, and college football in particular"— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) February 7, 2014
"Needless to say, the Cal family is heartbroken," says Sandy Barbour. #TedAgu— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) February 7, 2014
Thanks to Ryan Gorcey for transcribing the majority of this press conference.
UPDATE: From Dennis Dodd at CBS Sports.
The school was aware that a Cal player who died Friday had sickle cell trait, according to a source.
Cal on Friday confirmed that Ted Agu, a rising senior, died during a conditioning drill. Two outlets reported that Agu died during a team conditioning run.
That Agu had the trait does not necessarily mean he died from it or place blame on Cal. An official cause of death has not been determined. However, the manner of the player's death fits a profile. Since 2000, sickle cell trait related cases are the leading cause of death among NCAA Division I football players. The overwhelming majority of those deaths have occurred suddenly during offseason conditioning.
Since August 2010, sickle cell screening has been mandated by the NCAA. That mandate sprang from a settlement with the family of a deceased Rice football player. Since 2010, the NCAA has required that all athletes be tested for the condition unless they provide prior test results or sign a waiver.
UPDATE #2: The Dodd article has since been deleted by CBS Sports. The title and post have been amended to reflect those new updates.
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